At 03:45am on Thursday, 3/25/10 PMR received a request from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department to assist in the search for an overdue 49 year-old male hiker. Kerry Friesen’s car had been located at Tanner Creek trailhead after he was reported missing by his parents around 6:00pm Wednesday.
PMR began assembling around 6:00am at the trailhead. Three teams of three from PMR were tasked with sweeping the Eagle Creek/Tanner Creek loop, the Ruckle Creek-Benson Plateau-Eagle Creek loop and the trail to Munra Point.
Around 11:00am, a PMR team encountered the subject traveling north on the Eagle Creek trail at Tunnel Falls. The PMR team got the subject into dry clothes, fed him and evaluated his condition. He was deemed fit to travel. The PMR team had been unable to make any radio contact with base or other teams for some time due to the configuration of the canyon. A broken message from them indicating that the subject had been found, was ambulatory and they were heading out was received by a second PMR team on Ruckle Ridge and relayed to base. Team 2 returned to the Eagle Creek trailhead and hiked up to meet Team 1 on their slow descent. The subject was delivered to the trailhead at around 2:00pm.
Information received from Mr. Friesen indicate that he left his car at 9:30am Wednesday after eating a snack. His intention was to do the Eagle Creek/Tanner Creek loop. Mr. Friesen ascended Eagle Creek but lost the trail in snow and blow-down at the southern end of the loop. Mr. Friesen claimed to have crossed Eagle Creek a number of times in an attempt to find the route. He carried a cell phone, and a lighter which he used to start a small fire to keep him warm overnight.
PMR encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to follow these four elements of safety. Know the Conditions, Know the Route, Be Prepared, Have a Backup Plan.