SAR teams rescue subject with hypothermia lost on Mt. Hood


Please reference CCSO Case # 20-010630

Just after 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinatorswere notified of a male climber lost on Mt. Hood.

Initial information was provided by the climber’s friend, who had spoken with the lost subject via text message.

A short time later, the lost climber -- Nikolas David Larson, 31, of Sunriver, OR -- called 911 and spoke with dispatch.

Larson told dispatchers he had summited Mt. Hood earlier in the day, but was now lost in whiteout conditions and needed help. He had a few protein bars, but no water. Nick had been communicating with friends but he stated his cell-phone battery was now at 2%.

SAR Coordinators called out Portland Mountain Rescue, the Hood River Crag Rats, and Mountain Wave to assist.

The first team of searchers assembled and left from Timberline Lodge at about 11 p.m Friday night via snowcat.

When they reached the top of the Palmer Lift, they set off on foot to locate Larson. The rescue team reached Larson around 2 a.m. this morning (Saturday, May 23) at 6,200 feet on the west side of Mt. Hood, just above Split Rock (just south of Paradise Park).

Rescuers found Larson to be hypothermic.

Rescuers began to administer first aid and prepared Larson to be moved. A second mountain rescue team entered the field at 5:00 a.m. to assist with this rescue.

Initially, a helicopter was requested from the Oregon Army National Guard through the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, but it was determined the helicopter would not be used -- rescuers on scene had needed medical expertise. (Military rescue choppers also currently undergo extensive decontamination after each deployment, and there are over 200 climbers on mountain today, putting potential additional pressure on SAR resources.)

American Medical Response's Reach and Treat team and Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue were called in to assist with the evacuation.

Larson was transported down by rescuers to Kiwanis Camp Road near Government Camp. He was taken to an area hospital by American Medical Response.

All told, about 30 rescuers participated in this operation, as well as Sheriff's Office detectives, who helped determine the subject's location by analyzing phone data.


Sgt. Marcus Mendoza
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Public Information Unit