Courtesy Deschutes County Search and Rescue

Injured hiker rescued near Broken Hand summit

A 63-year-old woman was rescued Sunday evening after injuring herself on a steep, rocky trail near Broken Top.

Deschutes County Search and Rescue Coordinator Lt. Bryan Husband said dispatch received a call just after noon that a hiker was injured near the Broken Hand summit.

According to oregonhikers.org, “Broken Hand is a rugged prominence on Broken Top‘s east ridge, which connects with Tam McArthur Rim.”

GPS coordinates showed the woman, Susan Bailey of Hubbard, was on the trail that edges around the north side of Broken Hand around 8,400 feet.

A Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Deputy immediately called the reporting person, Dorthy Abbott, who told him Bailey had fallen on the trail and had injured herself while attempting to arrest her fall.

Although Bailey’s injury was reportedly not life-threatening, she was in a tremendous amount of pain, Husband said.

Abbott also reported the trail they were on was narrow and on a steep sidehill and did not think Bailey could be reached with a wheeled litter.

She reported they had a sleeping bag on Bailey to keep her warm, as fog and clouds were rolling in with misting conditions at times, Husband said.

Around 12:15 p.m., an alert request was sent out for DCSO SAR volunteers to respond, including members of the medical team and members of the mountain rescue team.

Initially, 13 DCSO SAR Volunteers responded to DCSO SAR in Bend and gathered the equipment and supplies needed to rescue Bailey from her remote location, Husband said.

Life Flight agreed to fly two DCSO SAR Volunteers up to the area to reach the patient in a more timely manner.

Nearly a dozen more DCSO SAR Volunteers departed in vehicles, headed for the Broken Top trailhead.

Due to the sketchy weather though, Life Flight had to drop off the two DCSO SAR Volunteers about three miles west of Bailey, around 1:56 p.m.

The two DCSO SAR Volunteers flown in by Life Flight reached Bailey first, arriving at 3:16 p.m.

Husband said they reported the weather had continued to decline with winds blowing 30 knots and gusting to 45 knots, and fog was continuing to blow in through the area.

They began to stabilize Bailey and confirmed teams would need to carry her about 250 feet before a wheeled litter option would be available.

DCSO SAR Teams hiking over three miles in from Broken Top trailhead began arriving at Bailey’s location around 4:15 p.m.

They had been tasked with carrying an assortment of rescue equipment, including multiple rescue ropes, “rock pro” rescue system equipment wheeled litter and additional patient packaging supplies, Husband said.

With the potential of a long carry/litter out to the trailhead looming, six additional DCSO SAR Volunteers were requested to respond and assist.

As SAR Volunteers began setting up the rigging systems needed to safely begin to move Bailey, they reported it appeared the cloud/fog layer was beginning to dissipate.

Ultimately, rescue teams decided to lower Bailey over 200 feet, where they were able to more easily carry her to an open and likely landing zone location, Husband said.

Teams further stabilized Bailey and provided additional warming supplies, until Air Link was able to respond and pick her up around 8:36 p.m.  Air Link then flew Bailey to St. Charles in Bend for further treatment.

DCSO SAR Volunteers escorted Bailey’s three hiking partners down to the Broken Top trailhead and provided them a courtesy transport back to their vehicles which were parked at the Tam Rim trailhead, near Three Creeks Lake.

All DCSO SAR Volunteers had returned to the DCSO SAR base in Bend by 12:30 a.m.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank both Life Flight and Air Link for their assistance with this rescue.

“We would also like to remind those individuals choosing to recreate in our backcountry during this time of year, to conduct additional research about the area you want to travel, including trail and forecasted weather conditions,” Husband said. “It is not uncommon at this time of year for weather conditions to be mild in and around town, but extreme in our higher elevations.”

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