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Lost snowshoers found safe on Mount Hood

West Linn woman spent night in a snow cave


by: GARY KAHNE - Rescue crews work to locate three people who were lost on Mount Hood.Rescue crews have safely located a man and two women who had been lost on Mount Hood since Sunday. One of the women is from West Linn.

Matt English, a spokesperson for the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that they were found at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, and were brought down off the mountain by 3:30 p.m. The three, identified as Mark Kelsey, 62, a mountain guide and outdoor survival instructor, Debra Shindler, 58, of West Linn, and Margarita Estrada, 49, of Milwaukie, were believed to be in good condition.

Russell Gubele, a spokesman with Mountain Wave Search & Rescue, reports that the group called 9-1-1 sometime before noon Sunday and stated that they had gotten lost while attempting to reach a “rustic cabin” in the Mount Hood National Forest. The group had left for the cabin late Saturday morning and spent the day and evening looking for it, but the trails were not well marked, according to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.

They told rescue crews that they spent Sunday night in a snow cave.

Rescue officials said the group’s only phone call was choppy and did not reveal an exact location. However, they were able to get GPS coordinates from that phone call, and used it to eventually find the hikers. English reported that Kelsey was a former rescue worker with extensive training and outdoor experience.

He did not disclose which agency he had worked for.  According to the sheriff’s office, in its emergency phone call, the group told dispatchers they started their hike Saturday from White River West Sno-Park, which is on Highway 35, a couple miles from the turn off to Timberline Lodge. Their vehicle was located in the parking lot of the park, Gubele disclosed.

The group had reportedly planned to spend Sunday night at the cabin. They claimed they became lost because the trails they were on were in bad condition. On Sunday, crews searched the area northwest of the park, but were pulled from the mountain due to weather conditions and darkness.On Monday, about 20 searchers used two Snowcats and skis to scour the north and south sides of the White River drainage, near Barlow Road. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain Wave, Portland Mountain Rescue and the Crag Rats assisted the sheriff’s office with the search.

— KOIN Local 6