Lost Hunter in Canyon Recovery: Mission 16-3918

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On Friday we were initially called to search for a 61-year- old lost hunter in Grays Harbor County. This search turned recovery when GSSD and ESAR spotted a man on a gravel bar in Canyon Creek out by Satsop. They were able to secure him on shore due to impending rain that was coming; the concern was that he would be washed away. Once activated, we reached out to OMR to get some assistance as we heard he was at the bottom of a steep ravine.

Upon arrival we met with 6 rescuers from Olympic Mountain Rescue and split up into a litter team, raise team one and raise team two. We could not go out the way we went in and instead had to go straight up a 40-degree slope with some short but near vertical steps. Once the subject was packaged we did a standard low angle tie in with two attendants to help lift the head of the litter over trees, bushes and other debris. The rigging was fairly straightforward, there were two main stations using 3:1 systems on 400-foot ropes, the total distance was around 900 feet to the road. Once the rope work was completed at the road, we loaded the subject into the back of the truck for transport back to base about 7 miles away. As usual, working with Olympic Mountain Rescue was wonderful, both teams work very well together and everybody pulled their weight. It was great to have the team we had because of the experience of everyone involved.

The backstory:

A 61-year- old man from California came up to hunt with his brother who lives in the local area. They were crossing Canyon Creek on a zip line that was put in years prior by some locals. The man fell backwards off the zip line, or it just broke while wearing all of his hunting gear (complete with tree stands, guns, ammo, etc). He was last seen trying to dump his pack or swimming (unclear) as he was being carried downstream. With the water well over his head, it was unclear how far he traveled prior to drowning. But for sure he was cold, in heavy gear with a heavy pack on so swimming was difficult.


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