Cold, soaked Pacific Crest Trail hikers rescued

Chicago women's phone died before rain, snow

BEND, Ore. - Two Chicago women on a 500-mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail called for help Tuesday after a difficult night of rain, then snow left them cold and with all their gear soaked, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.

The hikers – Johanna Hail, 29, and Andra Sturtevant, 23 – called 911 dispatchers around 10:40 a.m. from a spot about three miles north of Irish Lake, west of Cultus Lake in southern Deschutes County while hiking the PCT from Willamette Pass, Oregon, to Mt. Rainier in Washington state, said Deputy Liam Klatt, assistant SAR coordinator.

The women said they had encountered a large snow field on Monday, obscuring the trail. They decided to turn around when their phone, which they were using as a GPS, died, Klatt said. They had a solar charger, but the clouds and rain had made charging the phone nearly impossible.

The pair made camp along the trail near Irish Lake, but when a rainstorm moved through the area, their tent fly, which is supposed to keep the water out, failed and all of their gear got soaked, including their sleeping bags.

The women awoke to a fresh blanket of snow Tuesday morning and were unable to see the trail, Klatt said. They were able to use the solar charger for the phone to call 911 and ask for help.

Five members of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue team responded to the area and escorted the hikers out. They were brought without incident to waiting family members back in Bend.

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