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Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue warns winter is coming

After a busy weekend of rescues, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team warns hikers to be prepared when hiking in the mountains this fall. Two hikers were airlifted from the Pacific Crest Trail after experiencing snow and colder than normal temperatures.
View of snow in the Cascades from SnoHawk 10. Photo courtesy of Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

From a September 30, 2019, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post.

"Winter weather has arrived early in the Cascades and we may be in for more snow and freezing temperatures," said Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Chief Pilot Bill Quistorf.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue had a busy weekend along the Pacific Crest Trail.

On Saturday, September 28th, a 41 year-old male hiking the Pacific Crest Trail sent an InReach distress signal from the Kennedy Creek crossing. He had fallen in a creek, it had been snowing heavily and he was suffering from an intestinal illness.

SnoHawk 10 responded at around 1:00 pm, located the hiker, hoisted him out and flew him Providence Hospital at around 2:20 pm.

On Sunday, September 29th, Search and Rescue was notified of a personal locator beacon (PLB) activation by a 76 year-old male hiking the Pacific Crest Trial to Stehekin.

At around 11:20 am, SnoHawk 10 launched and located some of the the man's items along the trail, but not the hiker.

After an extensive search of the area and help from another Pacific Crest Trail hiker, the crew finally located the hiker near the North Fork of the Sauk River.

The man told rescuers he had fallen and hit his head. The injury seemed to be causing him to lose his balance and continually fall and he could not walk or stand on his own.

With the help from other hikers, he was trying to get off the mountain as quickly as possibly by following the Sauk North Fork Trail.

Rescuers noted it was wise for him to keep moving, as temperatures had dropped into the 20's and it was snowing.

The man was flown to Taylor's Landing where he was met by an aid car and transferred to a hospital.

Hiking in the mountains in the fall means the weather can be unpredictable and change in a matter of minutes. Some tips to know before you go:

  • Know the weather forecast before you hit the trail.
  • Bring a map and compass and know how to use them. Even the most familiar of trails can easily disappear under a few inches of snow.
  • Bring extra clothes and outer layers - more than you think you'll need.
  • Remember that the sun sets earlier and earlier this time of year - especially in the mountains.

Thank you to Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue and the many "trail angels" who help keep back-country explorers safe!

After a busy weekend of rescues, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team warns hikers to be prepared when hiking in the mountains this fall. Two hikers were airlifted from the Pacific Crest Trail after experiencing snow and colder than normal temperatures.

SnoHawk 10 at Kennedy Creek crossing rescue. Photo courtesy of Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

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