At the request of the Washington Emergency Management Department, PMR mobilized to assist in the search for two missing climbers on Mt. Adams. Four PMR searchers arrived at the Cold Springs trail head at around 2:30 p.m. on July 18, 2011.
The missing climbers had left the Cold Springs trailhead Saturday afternoon. They sent a text message to friends or family around 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening stating that they were about hour from their base camp, which was their last known communication. They were scheduled to return to Portland Sunday night and were reported overdue by their families sometime late Sunday evening. The USFS climbing ranger had located their tent at the 9200 foot level on the Lunch Counter. No climbing gear was in the tent, indicating that the climbers had left intending to climb.
One of the subjects had climbed Mt Rainier, Mt Baker and Mt Hood, all with guide services. The other had no climbing experience. Both climbers were reported to be properly equipped and were traveling on snow shoes. Both had cell phones and one had a SPOT unit, although he did not use it.
As the PMR searchers were preparing to enter the field for specified search areas, a family member received a phone call from the missing climbers stating that they were safe in the Trout Lake District USFS Office. They had hiked down Salt Creek and caught a ride into town.
PMR encourages back country travelers to carry emergency communication devices, to understand how to use those devices (such as the SPOT unit carried by these climbers), and to know the limitations of those devices. Using these devises does NOT trigger a charge for rescue. Wilderness search and rescue in Oregon and Washington is done by volunteers that do not charge for their service.