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Rope crews rescue stranded hikers from ledge in the Gorge

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Stranded hikers wait to be rescued.A group of hikers trapped overnight on a steep ledge in the Columbia River Gorge were rescued by a rope crew Thursday afternoon, said Lt. Steve Alexander, Multnomach County Sheriff's Office spokesman.

Portland Mountain Rescue and Mutnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue made contact with the adult and five teenagers stuck 600 feet below a hill at the edge of a cliff early Thursday morning.

The adult hiker was identified as 57-year-old Julie Fritts of Grass Valley. The teenage hikers include two females from Gladstone a male and female from Grass Valley, and a male from Oregon City, Alexander said.

Another member of the group reported the hikers lost around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

They had been hiking trails above Multnomah Falls earlier Wednesday but got lost on the way back down.

The cliff was below Cougar Rock and the 1,000 foot level between Multnomah Falls and Oneonta Falls.

The lost hikers had been in contact with search and rescue teams via cell phones. The group did not have flashlights and had limited snacks and water remaining, but no one in the group was injured, Alexander said.

Rope crews had been trying to determine the best way to get the hikers back up the hill despite the difficult terrain.

Crews used ropes and rigging to descend to the hikers and bring them back up.

At approximately 11:55 a.m. the first of the hikers began moving up the ropes to the top of the hill, Alexander said.

The last hiker reached the top at 1:30 p.m.

Rescuers escorted the group off the trail to a nearby road, where they were taken back to the Oneonta trailhead to be reunited with family members.

Despite a few scrapes and bruises, all of the hikers were in good condition, Alexander said.



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