Skip to Content

Injured hiker near Broken Hand summit prompts 12-hour rescue effort

Broken Hand rescue DCSO SAR 1018-1
Deschutes Count Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue
Injured hiker in remote spot near Broken Hand summit made for challenging rescue effort Sunday.
Broken Hand rescue DCSO SAR 1018-2
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue
Rescuers encountered fog, clouds and mist at times during Broken Hand rescue effort Sunday.

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A hiker was injured Sunday while trying to stop her fall at a remote spot near the summit of Broken Hand, west of Bend, prompting a challenging, 12-hour rescue effort by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers and two helicopter crews, deputies said.

County 911 dispatchers received a report just after noon Sunday of the injured hiker, a 63-year-old woman from Hubbard, Oregon. GPS coordinates placed her on the trail that edges around the north side of the summit, around 8,400 feet elevation, said Lt. Bryan Husband, Search and Rescue coordinator.

A SAR deputy called the woman who reported the accident and was told the woman fell on the trail and injured herself while trying to arrest her fall, Husband said.

The injury was reportedly not life-threatening, Husband said in a news release Monday, but “she was in a tremendous amount of pain.”

The caller also said they were on a narrow trail, with a steep side hill, and did not believe the injured woman could be reached with a wheeled litter. She also said they had a sleeping bag on the woman, to keep her warm, as fog and clouds were rolling in, with a mist falling at times.

After an alert was sent for SAR volunteers, including medical and mountain rescue team members, 13 responded to the SAR headquarters in Bend to prepare for the rescue.

Husband said Life Flight agreed to fly two SAR volunteers to the area, to reach the woman more quickly, while the rest left in vehicles for the Broken Top Trailhead.

Due to the poor weather, the helicopter crew had to drop off the two volunteers about three miles west of the hiker around 2 p.m., as the others reached the trailhead and headed up the trail.

By the time the two volunteers reached the woman, around 3:15 p.m., the weather had continued to deteriorate, winds were blowing 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph and fog was moving in. The pair began treating the woman and confirmed she’d need to be carried about 250 feet before a wheeled litter could be used.

The other SAR teams hiked more than three miles in and arrived around 4:15 p.m. with rescue gear, including several ropes, a “rock pro” rescue system, wheeled litter and other supplies.

Due to the location, six more volunteers were called while those on hand began setting up the rope rigging systems needed to safely move the woman, also reporting the clouds and fogs were diminishing, Husband said. They ultimately lowered the woman more than 200 feet, to a spot they could more easily carry her to a likely landing zone.

An Air Link helicopter was able to respond depart with the woman shortly after 8:30 p.m., flying her to St. Charles Bend for treatment, Husband said.

Meanwhile, SAR volunteers escorted the woman’s three hiking companions to the trailhead and gave them a ride back to their vehicles at the Tam McArthur Rim Trailhead, near Three Creeks Lake. All of the volunteers were back to the SAR base in Bend by 12:30 a.m.

"The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office would like to thank both Life Flight and Air Link for their assistance with this rescue," Husband wrote. 

"We would also like to remind those individuals choosing to recreate in our backcountry during this time of year to conduct additional research about the area you want to travel, including trail and forecasted weather conditions," he added. "It is not uncommon at this time of year for weather conditions to be mild in and around town, but extreme in our higher elevations."

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content