13-Year-Old Skier Found Alive, Well Near Mount Hood
Sunday, January 29, 2006
(Updated Monday, January 30, 2006)
 
In the late evening hours of Sunday night, Portland Mountain Rescue search teams joined Mount Hood Ski Patrol and other groups combing the Ski Bowl East ski area for a missing 13-year-old boy.  A few hours before noon on Monday, the boy was found alive and well walking on Still Creek Road near Rhododendron, Oregon.
 
The boy, from Eugene, Oregon, went missing Sunday afternoon while skiing with a group of teenagers.  Reportedly, he decided to go off alone for a final run through some backcountry ski territory on Multorpor Mountain in Government Camp, Oregon, just south of Mount Hood.  He became lost and could not make it back to the ski area.  Without a cell phone or radio, the boy decided to continue his ski run, which was unfortunately on the opposite side of the mountain from Ski Bowl.
 
The boy skied all the way down to Still Creek, near the base of Devil's Peak, a distance of roughly 3 miles from Multorpor Mountain.  He fell into the creek, but was able to add an extra layer of clothing for a long, cold night sleeping under a stand of trees.  Temperatures dropped into the 30's overnight, but the subject was able to survive, as he had proper clothing for the cold weather.
 
In the morning, the boy made his way on foot to Still Creek Road and began walking toward the town of Rhododendron.   Eventually, a National Guard helicopter flew over head and the subject was able to flag down the crew.  The boy was rescued shortly thereafter.  He was suffering from slight hypothermia, but was otherwise in good health.  Family members received him after rescue crews returned to the Ski Bowl ski area parking lot.
 
During the search, the steep 5,000-foot peak was blanketed in thick snow and experienced strong winds with a mix of precipitation.  After an unsuccessful search Sunday evening, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office mobilized additional rescue teams from across Western Oregon and Southwest Washington.
 
Though the boy was found safe and alive, PMR encourages all backcountry travelers to avoid skiing alone and, if they do, ensure that others are aware of their planned travel route.  As was the case with this event, proper clothing is a key in surviving a cold night in the wilderness.