PCT hiker hits snow, rescued S. of McKenzie Pass

Lane County SO reminds weather can change fast

POSTED: 6:21 PM PDT June 21, 2013 
SISTERS, Ore. -

An Arizona man who planned a solo Pacific Crest Trail hike from state Highway 242 (the McKenzie Pass Highway) to California encountered a snowstorm, hunkered down in his tent for three days, then called Lane County officials for help Thursday, prompting a successful rescue, sheriff’s deputies said.

Rip Stouffer, 57, of Globe, Ariz., “was cold but uninjured” when crews found him late Thursday, said Sgt. Steve French. He was brought out of the area early Friday morning.

Stouffer made a cellphone call around 1:30 p.m. to the sheriff’s office to report he was stranded in a snowstorm, having encountered winter-like conditions about 10 miles south of the highway, French said.

Stouffer said he had warm clothing, food and water but was not prepared for the sustained weather and accumulating snow, the sergeant said. Lane County Search and Rescue and Eugene Mountain Rescue were sent to his location.

French called it “a good reminder for all outdoor users that the weather in Oregon can change quickly, particularly at the higher elevations. Snowstorms in the high mountains are not uncommon in June.”