Sheriff’s Office Rescues Family of Hikers Stranded near Mt. Hood

Rescue Operation on Mt. Hood


On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team initiated a rescue operation following reports of a missing family of hikers in the Mt. Hood National Forest. At approximately 7:30 p.m., a member of the party contacted dispatch using the Emergency SOS feature on an Apple iPhone. This feature sends text messages and other vital information via satellite, such as detailed location information, to emergency dispatchers.

Search and Rescue personnel deployed all-terrain resources to locate the family who had started their trip on the Salmon River Trailhead, but due to conditions, they were unable to reach the family comprised of four adults (ages 19, 32, 47, and 52) and two juveniles (ages 9 and 11). Ground crews were deployed and were able to reach the family around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. The family was cold, wet and dehydrated, but otherwise OK. The family had hiked nearly eight miles and gained more than 3,500 feet in elevation.

Additional resources were called in to reach the family, including a helicopter, but it was unable to land due to weather conditions.

A snowcat from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly before 10:00 a.m. and immediately deployed to the family’s location.

It took several hours for the snowcat to reach the hikers due to the difficult terrain, but the family was transported back to the search and rescue command post along Highway 26 at around 7:30 p.m.

This was a challenging rescue due to the amount of snow, fallen trees, steep terrain, and number of people who needed to be rescued. We would like to remind anyone planning a visit to the wilderness and higher elevation areas to be prepared for unexpected weather conditions with warm clothing, extra food, and water.

We would like to thank our Search and Rescue volunteers (CSAR), Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR), Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue (PNW), Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, American Medical Response (AMR) Reach and Treat (RAT) team, Oregon Army National Guard, Oregon Department of Emergency Management, U.S. Forest Service, and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Please reference case #24-005432

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Brian McCall, Public Information Officer
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
Communications Unit