Hiker Airlifted Off South Sister | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Hiker Airlifted Off South Sister

A climber waited overnight for a rescue after injuring himself



A 23-year-old man from Ithaca, New York, fell and injured himself after causing a small avalanche on South Sister on June 18, prompting a helicopter rescue with the assistance of the Oregon Army National Guard. The climber called 911 shortly before 7 p.m., saying he was unable to go down the mountain in his current state, and requested a helicopter evacuation. He was about 9,100 feet high on the 10,350 foot mountain.

A hiker had to wait overnight for rescue on South Sister after triggering an avalanche and injuring himself. - COURTESY OF DESCHUTES COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
  • A hiker had to wait overnight for rescue on South Sister after triggering an avalanche and injuring himself.

Weather prevented any rescue mission from taking place that night, requiring the hiker to stay overnight in a tent and sleeping bag. Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue's Mountain Rescue Unit planned to scale the mountain the following morning, starting from Pole Creek Trailhead around 1 a.m. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management coordinated with the National Guard to provide a black hawk helicopter to conduct a hoist rescue on the downed hiker.

The search and rescue team located the climber at 8:50 a.m. after a 9-mile trek up the mountain. The team assessed the hiker's condition and moved him to an area where a helicopter rescue would be safer. The National Guard's Helicopter launched from Salem and arrived on scene around 10:30 a.m. The search and rescue team hoisted the hiker onto the helicopter at 11:30 a.m. and transported him to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

South Sister is a popular hiking spot but can be dangerous. July 13, 2021, saw three separate search and rescue missions — with two AirLink helicopter dispatches — within 24 hours.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...

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