Rescuers and Trapped Hikers to Hunker Down Before Coming Storm

Devil's Punchbowl
Devil’s Punchbowl during a warmer time of year. [Image from Six Rivers National Forest]

Six rescuers hiked up to Devil’s Punchbowl today in another attempt to assist a woman, a man, and a dog that have been trapped in a very remote mountainous region of Del Norte County. The hikers became trapped when snow began falling there on Tuesday. The rescuers left early today and hiked multiple hours in order to reach the stranded hikers before 2 p.m. Now, both the rescuers and those they came to help must wait out a heavy storm as there isn’t enough time to hike out before dark falls.

“They’ve warmed [the couple] up and have fed them,” explained Commander Bill Steven of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department. “They are making camp and just need to hunker down…The only kind of hitch in the plans is that there is a pretty significant storm coming in this evening.”

Steven said that there is over a foot of snow on the trail now and more might be coming in the storm. He called the attempt to rescue the hikers “a very treacherous, pretty demanding task.”

According to Steven, several different counties from both Oregon and California have sent crews and equipment to help after an attempt to fly in with a helicopter to save the couple had to be scrapped because of poor weather conditions. Jackson and Josephine Counties in Oregon and Siskiyou have joined Del Norte crews under Sgt. Ed Fleshman’s direction in the attempt to rescue the stranded hikers,  Commander Steven said. “We want to thank a lot of people with a lot of equiptment,” Steven noted.

High winds and mountain snow are expected in the region, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s a dangerous operation. That’s for sure,” Steven said. The crew and the stranded couple must wait out Thanksgiving Day as the storm beats down on them.

May both rescuers and those they are trying to save make it back to their families safely.

Earlier Chapter: Rescuers Keep Trying to Reach Hikers Trapped by Unexpected Snowfall Last Night

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12 comments

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    The snow and storm WERE NOT unexpected. This is a news organization. We have been in a well-publicized and directly experienced series of winter storms and since it is late November, the odds of snow at higher elevations is VERY MUCH EXPECTED. Hard to imagine a worse possible time for a high elevation backpack unless you were specifically testing your extreme winter gear, which these folks obviously were not.

    I hope they all get out OK and the team leaders learn their lesson. They won’t if everybody pretends this was unavoidable. I especially feel bad for the rescuers and the dog who expected the humans to be the brains of the outfit.

    Yeah, I’ve done things just about this stupid. The trick is to learn from your mistakes. Next time get a weather report first. Abide by it. Winter camping is only for the elite with the best gear.

  • Im glad rescuers where able to reach them, does anyone know how long this storm is suppose to last? man this is turning out to be a hairy situation

  • Hey Kim, why no update on the missing woman, Sherri Papini, being found safe today?

  • Praying they are found safe, must be a hard thanksgiving for the family. I was once stuck on New Years night with about a half foot of snow way up an access road near Ruth lake, me and my uncle walked the rest of the day and almost the whole night back down to the nearest house (he knows the owner) but no one was home. We hunkered down for the rest of the night in the shack out front and woke the next morning to a truck driving by, he tried to holler at him but he didn’t hear. We then continued walking till about noon I would say, then the best sight ever an old blue single cab dodge driving towards us (the same truck that we woke up to), and if I remember correctly it was the chief of fire and rescue. He took us back to his house his wife gave us a little food then brought us back up to our truck, got us unstuck and we continued our camping trip caught trout and ate amazingly. It was one for the books for sure and never got to thank the guy maybe one day. But we weren’t even lost or trapped and it was scary as hell, I was in 9th or 10th grade. Hope they get home safe there’s nothing scarier than being trapped out in the freezing weather for that long.

  • Because everyone knows that she was out having an affair.

  • How can we volunteer for search and rescue? Anyone else want in?

  • Prayers to all I will be praying for your safe return also to stay dry and warm thank you rescuers for all you do even on thanksgiving you guys are awesome prayers to all the family’s with your love ones not at home for thanksgiving 🙏🏼❤️😇❤️

  • The Humboldt County Sheriffs Department OES is the one to contact for info on joining the Search&Rescue. It is all volunteer. You have a oral board interview after filling out the application plus a background check. After you join you will see how the whole thing works. What a person has to go thru ect. being a volunteer. It is a commitmint of time and money out of your own pocket. Most people have jobs to go to everyday and you have to be able to take time off when needed. The rewards; good training and fellowship and being outdoors ect. There is times that you get ready to go and are enroute only to be canceled. Being canceled is good for the most part as the subjects have been found more than likely. The county needs more searchers for the S.A.R. Team. The county S.A.R. meets once a month and trains one or more times a month. High and Low angle rope work, firstaid, backpacking at O-dark 30 in the rain, snow and mud ect. Miserable but well worth it when you are the searcher that finds the missing subject, as the subject is very gratefull that somebody came looking for them to lead them to safety. Remember, you might be the missing persons only hope!

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