PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Clackamas County Search and Rescue saved two California women who became lost while hiking on Mt. Hood without a map, compass or flashlights earlier this month.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, a relative reported the incident to officials around 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2.
The two women, ages 28 and 29, planned an eight-mile hike that started at Top Spur Trailhead and would give them access to Ramona Falls. However, CCSO said the hikers missed a trail junction about halfway through their journey.
The women ventured farther away from their car and across the upper Sandy River on the Pacific Crest Trail, before they were ‘overcome by darkness and exhaustion.’ The hikers’ cell phones initially had no signal, but they found service higher up on the trail.
Clackamas County authorities launched the rescue mission at 8:18 p.m. Three rescue team trail runners were the first to arrive, followed by nine of the ground searchers.
The trail runners found the stranded hikers around midnight that night, the Sheriff’s Office reported. The two women were wet and cold, but had no other injuries.
The hikers warmed up, ate, and hydrated by the fire that the rescue team built near the upper Sandy River. The women then returned to their vehicle by 3 a.m.
According to CCSO, this rescue serves as a teachable moment for hikers — even those that start their journey during the day.
The U.S. Forest Service at Mt. Hood National Forest added that the incident could have ended much worse for the California women.
“Please always come prepared when recreating on national forests,” a Mt. Hood spokesperson said on Facebook. “Have a map and compass with you — especially on hikes into wilderness areas. Accidents happen even for very experienced hikers.”