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DCSO SAR has busy weekend, rescues injured Three Sisters climber, then a fallen climber near Smith Rock

Life Flight helicopter Three Sisters rescue DCSO SAR 85
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue
Life Flight helicopter was one of two air ambulances involved in Three Sisters rescue mission
Smith Rock fallen climber rescue DCSO SAR 87
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
Rescuers used rope system to lower fallen, injured climber from ledge Sunday afternoon

(Update: Details of first rescue of weekend, between North and Middle Sister)

First mission, overnight, involved two air ambulances; second involved climber knocked unconscious

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers had a busy weekend, first rescuing an injured hiker in the Three Sisters Wilderness on Saturday in an overnight mission involving two helicopters, and then a fallen, injured climber near Smith Rock Sunday in a five-hour effort by several agencies.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, SAR was dispatched to two lost and disoriented hikers near Hayden glacier, between the North and Middle Sister, Sergeant Jason Wall said. They were a 27-year-old Prineville man and a 25-year-old woman from Napa, California.

Due to poor weather conditions and the remote location, SAR requested assistance from a helicopter, he said.

Life Flight agreed to fly two SAR volunteers to a landing zone as close to the pair as possible, arriving shortly before 9 p.m. at a landing zone about 1.8 miles from the hikers, Wall said.

The SAR volunteers arrived at the lost hikers around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, and advised the female hiker had an ankle injury that kept her from continuing down the mountain without the help of an air ambulance.

The SAR volunteers sheltered with the pair overnight to wait for a helicopter’s availability. Visibility cleared and AirLink was able to head to the scene, reaching a landing zone around 11 a.m.. Sunday. Wall said the woman was flown to St. Charles Bend for further evaluation and treatment of her injuries.

In the weekend's second mission, the SAR unit was dispatched around 1:20 p.m. Sunday to the report of the fallen climber, Wall said.

Initial reports indicated the 58-year-old woman fell about 20 feet while rappelling off the Brogan Spire on BLM land north of Smith Rock State Park, Wall said. She was rendered unconscious for several minutes.

The climber's partner yelled for help, and several local climbers responded and contacted county 911 dispatchers, Wall said. The climbers also helped the woman from a suspended position onto a ledge.

SAR volunteers climbed about 50 feet to the ledge to begin caring for the climber and establish a rope rescue system.

Wall said the woman was paced in a litter and lowered to the ground by rope. She then was lowered another 600 feet down a steep slope and moved another 600 feet to a canal, where Redmond Fire and Rescue used their raft to shuttle the climber to a waiting ambulance.

"We would like to thank those individuals who heard calls for help and responded in earnest," Wall said in a news release. "We also would like to thank the excellent coordination and teamwork with Redmond Fire and Rescue and Oregon State Parks."

A total of 14 SAR volunteers, a sheriff’s office Special Services sergeant, two Oregon State Park employees and six Redmond Fire and Rescue crew members assisted with the rescue effort, the sergeant said.

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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Barney Lerten

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