Rescuers and Trapped Hikers to Hunker Down Before Coming Storm
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.