News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Fall weather has arrived — which means that conditions can change quickly. A pair of hikers near Sisters got caught unprepared for conditions over the weekend and required help from Deschutes County Search and Rescue.

Fall weather has arrived — which means that conditions can change quickly. A pair of hikers near Sisters got caught unprepared for conditions over the weekend and required help from Deschutes County Search and Rescue.

On Saturday, September 18, at about 10:30 a.m., Deschutes County Dispatch Search and Rescue was advised of two hikers needing assistance at Camp Lake near Pole Creek Trailhead outside of Sisters. Deschutes County 911 had received a report from Garmin GPS emergency response that they had received an emergency alert at that location from a Garmin GPS receiver.

Emergency response was able to make contact with the user, who reported a weather system had moved in overnight and the user along with a hiking partner were now wet, cold, and needing assistance back to the trailhead. At the time of this call, a United States Forest Service (USFS) Law Enforcement Officer was also notified and responded to the area. A Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Assistant SAR Coordinator was able to make text message contact with 32-year-old Brian Werter and 30-year-old Elyse Zukelich, both of Bend, and learned they were uninjured, but would not be able to safely return to the trailhead without assistance.

Fourteen DCSO SAR volunteers responded to the trailhead including ground teams, medical teams, and a horse team. The teams responded up the trail from Pole Creek Trailhead arriving at the patients at 3:40 p.m. Upon arrival, SAR teams found the victims were not in need of medical care, although they would need assistance with basic care (food, water, dry clothing) prior to hiking down the trail. Teams noted at the time of arrival at the hikers’ camp, temperatures were in the low 30s with mixed snow and rain falling.

At 4:40 p.m. SAR teams began escorting the subjects down the trail where they met friends and went home by personal vehicle. SAR personnel and the subjects arrived back at the trailhead at 7:30 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office thanked the Forest Service Law Enforcement for their help during this mission.

Conditions can change rapidly; hikers be prepared for varying temperatures and rain/snowfall. Keep a close eye on weather forecasts for recreation areas.

 

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