PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rescue teams logged many hours on the trails in the Columbia River Gorge on Friday, August 26, working to rescue hikers in danger.
Deaven Thielen, 20, and Lyndale Galino, 19, of Tualatin, followed another group up some steps into an unmarked trail, and quickly realized they weren’t on the right path to Angel’s Rest.
“We kept going straight up and up climbing rocks, rock climbing,” Theilen said. “Rocks are falling and smacking her and me.”
They called 911 and eventually search and rescue teams brought them down using rope and harnesses.
“Really if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be down here right now and I’m so grateful,” Galino said.
Another hiker, who was not with Thielen and Galino, fell about 40 feet to his death Friday, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. That hiker was 36-year-old Viren Viuhkola. He was hiking with a friend when he fell off the side of a trail near a small waterfall.
Rescuers attempted to save Viuhkola’s life when they got to him, but his injuries were too severe.
It was a busy day on the trails with at least 80 pairs of boots on the ground with multiple agencies helping deputies with multiple rescues.
“Really a happy ending to a couple of them and a tragic ending to one,” Lt. Steve Alexander with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Dept. said.
Hikers in the Gorge
With more than 1 million visitors in the Columbia River Gorge each year, rescuers say it’s often hikers who aren’t from the area who get into trouble.
These hikers are not prepared for trails with no railings, loose rocks and steep cliffs.
While KOIN 6 News was at Angel’s Rest on Friday, several hikers headed up the trails with just a small container of water, without a map, without food, jackets, matches, flashlights or a first-aid kit.
Experienced local hikers say they always pack the essentials, just in case.
Missing hikers sometimes make it more difficult for searchers to find them. Once you’re lost, the best advice is to stay in one spot.
Don’t rely on your phone to call for help. There is no cell service in this area. Hike with someone and make sure to leave information with someone where you are going and when you should be back.