PMR Responds to Lost Skier Search on Mt Adams
Saturday, June 28, 2003
 
Early Saturday morning, Portland Mountain Rescue was called to Washington's Mount Adams to search for a ski mountaineer who had been reported as injured and disoriented.
 
The 21-year-old man was able to walk out of the wilderness on his own before the search and rescue effort began in earnest.  Only a handful of rescuers had assembled when the man appeared on the access road about 1/4 mile South of the Cold Springs trailhead.  Amazingly, the man's own father and brother were the first persons to spot the subject, as they just happened to be driving down the access road to setup a watch station at a different trailhead.  The family members immediately drove the man to the Cold Springs trailhead to meet with search and rescue coordinators from the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.  Fortunately, the subject's injuries were minor and he was able to drive home on his own.
 
After climbing the 12,276-foot mountain Friday afternoon, the skier fell during his descent and became disoriented.  Apparently, he thought that he was on the Crescent Glacier when he was really West of that landmark.  Based on this assumption, the man headed South on what he believed was the main climbing route.  However, he actually descended into a remote portion of the mountain near Crofton Ridge.  As night fell, the skier left a message on his parent's answering machine that he was lost and injured.  The father contacted 9-1-1 and the Washington Department of Emergency Management began search and rescue preparations - including a callout to Portland Mountain Rescue.
 
After dawn on Saturday, the subject made a smart decision that eventually brought him back to safety.  He knew that the climbing trail and the access road ran North-South and that he was surely to the West of that line.  The man then headed due East in hopes of reaching either the main trail or the road.  Several hours later, he made it to the access road.