A Sisters man hiking a remote trail in the northwest corner of Deschutes County with his wife called for help Sunday morning after she was injured, prompting a rescue operation that took several hours and involved people on foot, by horseback and an air ambulance, officials said.
The sheriff’s office Search and Rescue unit was dispatched around 10:40 a.m. to the report of an injured hiker at the junction of the Scott Pass Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, near South Matthieu Lake, said Deputy Jim Whitcomb, assistant SAR coordinator.
Bruce Slayden, 65, told dispatchers his wife, Nora, also 65, had sustained an injury and could not continue farther on the trail, Whitcomb said. He said they had left Lava Camp Trailhead earlier in the morning and had enough water and food to wait for rescuers to arrive.
Communication with the pair was difficult, due to the remote location, and hit-or-miss text messages were the main way officials got updates on the woman’s status, Whitcomb said. However, GPS coordinates obtained from the 911 call helped confirm their location.
A SAR horse team, made up of two horses and three SAR members, was deployed, followed by a five-member litter team, in case the woman could not be brought out on a horse, the deputy said.
After the trip of roughly three miles from Lava Camp, the horse team arrived around 2 p.m., assessed the woman’s condition and determined it would be best to call in an air ambulance.
Air Link arrived around 4:30 p.m., giving the SAR litter team time to arrive and help bring her to the helicopter, Whitcomb said.
Nora Slayden was flown to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries.
Whitcomb said the two SAR teams and Bruce Slayden arrived back at the Lava Camp Trailhead around 6 p.m. without incident.