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Contact: Michael Justin, 541-594-3008
Crater Lake National Park Service Rangers launched a Search and Rescue Mission for three overdue cross country skier early Wednesday morning 02.03.10. Three cross country skiers from the Eugene, Oregon area were reported overdue along the East Side of Crater Lake during the afternoon of 02.02.10.
The overdue party was fortunate enough to be in an area of the park wilderness that had cell phone coverage. Not all areas of the park have coverage. Park Rangers were able to talk directly to the overdue skiers by cell phone during the late afternoon of 02.02.10. David Donielson was the lead skier from the missing party. Donielson told Acting Chielf Park Ranger Pete Reinhardt that their party had become disoriented and lost in whiteout blizzard conditions near the Dutton Ridge Area of the park. The missing party had enough food and supplies for two more days if they were to remain in the park wilderness without rescue assistance.
Park Rangers assisted by members of the Crater Lake Ski Patrol broke trail and ascended a ski climb of over 1,000 feet in elevation to the Dutton Ridge Area. The three disoriented skiers were located above Sun Notch along the west flank of Dutton Ridge. The rescued party suffered from fatigue and mild dehydration. The group was able to ski back to Park Headquarters Area accompanied by Park Rangers and Ski Patrol volunteers.
Acting Chief Ranger Reinhardt reminds winter visitors that a backcountry permit is required for all overnight travel in the Park's backcountry both in summer and witner seasons. Check in at the Visitor Center for your free permit and an updated weather and avalanche report. Winter safety equipment recommendations include an avalanche shovel, avalanche probe, and avalanceh beacon. map and compass, GPS unit, cell phone a stove to make water, and extra supplies are also recommended. Know how to use your equipment and don't rely on just one of these items if an emergency comes up.
Plan your trip carefully and select your wilderness travel partners wisely before entering the park backcountry.
Stay focused on your situational awareness for a safe return from your witner experiences at Crater Lake National Park