Crater Lake mystery: Did trail hiker take a tumble?

Search finds little sign; rangers seek info, say he may be from Bend

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. - Crater Lake National Park rangers said late Monday they are seeking information on a hiker, possibly from Bend, who was seen falling from the caldera rim surrounding the nation's deepest lake last Friday, prompting a search by ground, air and water that found few clues.

They said they are also trying to ascertain the welfare of the individual following the incident.

Last Friday, rangers responded to an area along the west rim north of Discovery Point adjacent to the Rim Trail for an individual who was observed to have fallen from the caldera rim surrounding the lake. 

The man was reported to have disappeared in the trees on the slope at that location.  The person was described as:

·    Approximately 40 year old white Caucasian male

·       Approximately 5 ft. 10 inches tall

·       150 lbs.

·       Long dirty blond hair and full beard

·       Reported to have been wearing a blue ball cap, green t-shirt, and dark shorts

·       Carrying a dark blue backpack  

·       Described as having one arm that was completely tattooed (a "sleeve" tattoo)

·       Wearing a black knee brace on one leg and an ace bandage from the knee to the ankle of the other leg

Rangers immediately began a search for individual.  They, along with personnel from Jackson, Douglas and Josephine County search and rescue teams conducted high-angle search efforts at the location on the rim through Sunday, but found no sign.

Also, personnel searched from boats on Crater Lake and a helicopter conducted an aerial search of the slope. 

The only finding during the search efforts was a pair of sunglasses located directly below where the individual was reported to have fallen. 

"It is believed that the individual may have somehow arrested his fall and climbed out of the caldera without making contact with rangers," the late-Monday statement said.

Other information suggests this hiker was northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail through the park, and that he may be from the Bend area. 

If he was able to leave the area on his own, he may be further north on the PCT at this time, they said.

Crater Lake National Park officials are interested in any information on this subject - his name, trail name, any contacts with him either before or after the incident, and any other information that may be pertinent. 

"Rangers wish to confirm the individual is well and he was able to safely extricate himself from the caldera," the park said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Crater Lake National Park Dispatch at: (541)594-3060.  If calling after hours, please leave a detailed message with name and contact information. 

Park officials said they appreciate any assistance in this case.   They also remind all visitors to use extreme caution when walking near the edge of the caldera.  Visitors should obey all warning signs, stay on marked trails and remain behind rock walls and railings.

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