Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mount Hood searchers use smartphone GPS to try to locate missing ...

Search and rescue crews began a sunrise search to locate a veteran mountain guide and outdoor survival instructor who got lost Sunday in foggy and snowy conditions on Mount Hood with two female companions.

The trio used cellphones to place two calls to Hood River County emergency services for help on Sunday afternoon, said Russell Gubele, president of Mountain Wave Emergency Communications.

The missing group's car was found at White River West Sno Park on Oregon 35, a few miles north of U.S. 26.

They were planning to spend the night at a "rustic cabin" on the mountain, but rescue crews don't know where the cabin is or whether they reached it, Gubele said.

"We have some coordinates from the cell phone, but they're not very accurate," Gubele said.

The male hiker, who was not identified, is described as a former member of Portland Mountain Rescue who has been a professional guide on Mount Hood for several years.

"He continues to guide and teach survival techniques," said Rocky Henderson, team leader with Portland Mountain Rescue. "He is of the utmost competence."

Rescuers will likely face weather conditions that include thick fog and snow, Henderson said, pointing out that the hikers reported such heavy snowfall that they are not able to find their way out.

The group may be traveling on snowshoes.

Portland Mountain Rescue, the Hood River County Sheriff's Office and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office are helping with the search, he said.


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