News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Intoxicated hiker rescued

A woman — later found to have been intoxicated — was the focus of an extended rescue mission on Broken Top last weekend.

On Saturday, June 20 around 7:10 p.m., Deschutes County Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a hiker, later identified as Chantel Nelson, 34, of Beaverton, who was reportedly hiking near Broken Top mountain and “in trouble.” According to Nelson’s hiking partners, she was also beginning to lose consciousness and could not continue on her own.

Based on this information, two DCSO deputies and nine Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers responded to assist. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, one deputy remained in quarters with a volunteer to coordinate the mission while another deputy responded to the scene with the eight other volunteers.

“Based on Nelson’s location and the amount of intermittent snowpack on the Forest Service roads in the area, reaching her location proved challenging,” the sheriff’s office reported. Due to weather and the circumstances of the call, air transport was not an option at that time. SAR resources drove up Bearwallow Road in trucks towing two off-road vehicles.

The deputy and volunteers then deployed up Forest Service Road 370 to the 380 Road. Due to the amount of snow, these roads were later determined to be impassable for one of the off-road vehicles, resulting in some SAR volunteers having to hike in on foot.

SAR volunteers first reached Nelson around 12:40 a.m. and began tending to her. Nelson was able to walk down the mountain with the assistance of the volunteers. Nelson walked to the Broken Top Trailhead where a DCSO SAR vehicle was waiting. Nelson was then transported to the SAR and then provided transport into Bend at her request. Nelson declined further medical assistance at that time. DCSO resources returned to quarters at approximately 7 a.m. the following morning.

Dep. Joshua Westfall, Assistant Search And Rescue Coordinator, reported that, “It was later determined that intoxicants were the primary factor in Nelson’s inability to continue down the mountain, requiring her rescue. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that consuming intoxicants while recreating in the wilderness can lead to dangerous situations necessitating rescue and potentially putting the recreator and rescuers at risk as a result.”


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