Climber dies on North Sister


Last updated 7/25/2023 at 10:50am

A 21-year-old Bend man died in a fall near the summit of North Sister on Monday, July 17.

Lane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) received the report of an injured climber at approximately 12:18 p.m. The caller reported that her boyfriend, later identified as Joel Tranby of Bend, had fallen approximately 300 to 500 feet down the slope and was severely injured. The caller was unable to see where the victim had fallen or reach him due to the extremely steep and rocky terrain. A Lane County Sheriff’s Office SAR Coordinator and a Mountain Rescue volunteer arrived in the area via Life Flight Network helicopter and immediately began searching. The victim had fallen into a very steep ravine made up of extremely unstable large boulders.

According to SAR reports, he stopped responding verbally before searchers arrived. Tranby’s girlfriend was transported by helicopter off of the mountain.

Lane County SAR located Tranby’s body through drone footage, located in extremely loose and steep rocky terrain, which rendered reaching him on foot impossible.

Late last week, the unit was still assessing whether a recovery mission could be safely conducted.

According to a GoFundMe page set up by a friend of the family, Tranby was a 2020 graduate of Mountain View High School. He helped coach the school’s Nordic ski team.

“He exhibited a remarkable work ethic and business acumen early on — getting his first job at Chik-Fil-A while in high school and working his way up to become a manager,” the narrative stated. “He most recently started working part-time at Costco.”

The GoFundMe campaign is designed to create a scholarship fund in Tranby’s memory at Oregon State University, and also to defray memorial expenses, and possibly to assist in recovering his remains from the mountain. Visit


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