By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
A Beaverton man stuck in a perilous position while climbing South Sister was hoisted to safety by a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter Monday, seven hours after calling 911 asking for help.
The climber, 49-year-old Stephen Lamb, called Deschutes County 911 shortly before 9 a.m. Monday to say he was stranded on the north side of the mountain
Sgt. Nathan Garibay, emergency services manager for DCSO, said an Air Link helicopter flew over the area Monday morning to get a visual of Lamb.
It soon became clear the situation would require technical rescuers from the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Unit (MRU).
Three Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers were flown by AirLink to the summit of South Sister.
AirLink made two flights ferrying rescuers and a third flight to help find the climber.
Lamb was lifted into a Blackhawk helicopter around 4:30 p.m., Garibay said.
He was the flown to the Sisters Airport.
Lamb was uninjured but exhausted from the long climb and from holding on to a ledge for more than seven hours.
Garibay said a helicopter rescue was deemed to be the safest method get Lamb off the mountain.
Lamb found himself in a precarious location where he was unable to continue up and unable to climb back down.
He was stranded on a small ledge in very steep terrain.
Snow, ice and poor rock prevented him from being able to move from his position.
Garibay said alpine rescues like this can be especially dangerous.
“Well I think any rescue in an alpine environment is particularly challenging and potentially treacherous, so our rescuers are using caution to move to the subject without causing any further harm and being able to safely access and effect the rescue,” he said.
Rescuers had to proceed about 600 feet down a ridge off the Northwest side of the mountain and then traverse (move laterally along a slope) about 500 feet East to a location directly above Lamb, Garibay said.
Lamb was found in a precarious location in a narrow chute.
Just before 3:20 p.m. an MRU member rappelled to Lamb and secured him from falling.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank AirLink Critical Care Transport and the Oregon Army National Guard G/1-189 Aviation Regiment for their professional assistance in this rescue.