On Friday September 16th the body of climber Adam Ochshorn was successfully recovered from below the west buttress of Colchuck Peak. The remains are in the possession of the Chelan County Coroner’s Office. Sheriff’ Brian Burnett stated, “We hope this brings some final closure to the family and friends of Adam. I appreciate all of the hard work by the deputies, pilots and many mountain rescue volunteers involved in this search and recovery”.
Ochshorn’s family in New York state and friends in Portland, Oregon have been notified of the recovery.
The task of recovering Ochshorn’s body was a collaborative effort between the Sheriff’s Office, Chelan County Mountain Rescue, and Chelan County Fire District #1. During the planning phase of the mission, coordinators realized the most practical and safe method to remove the remains from its position on the steep 7,100ft slope of Colchuck Peak would be to use the fire district’s UH-1 Huey aircraft using a long line technique. This is in lieu of the much smaller Sheriff’s Office OH-58 Jet Ranger helicopter. Fire Chief Mike Burnett authorized the flight of his agency’s helicopter in support of the recovery mission. The larger aircraft allowed for less total flight time and the capability to insert all ground personnel near the body position in one mission. The Sheriff’s Office and Fire District #1 hope to continue a partnership in using the UH-1 Huey for specific search and rescue missions in the future. Hoist equipped helicopters from other counties within the state are not as readily available for rescue and recovery missions as they have been during the past several years. This is primarily due to other counties seeing budget cuts and other funding sources decline during the past two years. The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office will share costs on any rescue missions in which the Fire District #1 aircraft is used.
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports the body of missing climber, Adam Ochshorn (33yoa) was located this weekend below the northwest buttress adjacent to Colchuck Peak in the Alpine Wilderness. A team of Chelan County Mountain Rescue (CCMR) personnel located the remains shortly after 12:00pm on Saturday. The team deployed early Saturday morning on a mission in an attempt to locate Ochshorn. He has been missing since November 29th, 2015 when friends from Oregon reported Ochshorn overdue returning from a solo climb of the north couloir route of Colchuck Peak. Attempts to locate Ochshorn last fall were unsuccessful and severely hampered by weather.
On Tuesday (09/6/2016) a Sheriff’s Office helicopter flying an unrelated mission to assist two stranded climbers on Dragontail Peak, took some time to fly the west side of the northwest buttress area. A crewmember in the helicopter spotted a faded orange object in the rocks on a steep slope at around the 6,500ft elevation level. On Thursday, a small team of CCMR personnel hiked and climbed to the location of the object and confirmed it was Ochshorn’s climbing pack. A search of the immediate area by that team did not locate Ochshorn’s remains.
On Saturday, a team of nine CCMR personnel deployed to an area well above the location the climbing pack had been found. The body of Ochshorn was located above 7,000 feet.
The Sheriff’s Office is currently working through a plan to remove the remains from the steep slope consisting of loose rock and boulders.
Ochshorn’s family was notified over the weekend and expressed their sincere appreciation to the mountain rescue team members that volunteered their time to find Adam’s remains. Questions regarding this media release may be directed to Sergeant Kent Sisson.
UPDATE - December 1st, 2015
The search for hiker Adam Ochshorn who was reported overdue on Sunday 11/29, has been suspended. The current and predicted weather, and the safety of Search and Rescue personnel were considerations in making this decision.
Search and Rescue personnel conducted ground and aerial searches Monday and Tuesday, but were unable to locate Mr. Ochshorn. As previously reported, Mr. Ochshorn’s campsite was located Monday along the west bank of Colchuck Lake unoccupied.
ORIGINAL MEDIA RELEASE - November 30th, 2016
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office initiated an active search for an overdue climber in the area of Colchuck Peak Monday morning. The climber, Adam Ochshorn (33yoa) of Portland, Oregon had planned on hiking to the Colchuck Lake area on Friday, camping overnight and then climbing a couloir route to reach Colchuck Peak on Saturday. He was expected out by late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. Ochshorn’s vehicle was located near the Bridge Creek campground. He is described as an experienced and technical climber who had hiked in the Colchuck area this past summer.
Search coordinators and Chelan County Mountain Rescue personnel worked together throughout Monday in an attempt to locate Ochshorn. One team of Mountain Rescue members had hiked into Colchuck Lake on Sunday evening. Deputies and other Mountain Rescue members joined in the search Monday morning. Ochshorn’s tent was eventually located along the west bank of Colchuck Lake unoccupied. Searchers are focusing on a north couloir route which Ochshorn mentioned to friends would be his ascending route to the Colchuck Peak summit.
Due to a weather inversion layer of low clouds in Chelan County, a helicopter from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office was requested to conduct an aerial search Monday. (The elevation of the search area is above the inversion layer). Searchers had clear skies throughout Monday’s operational period but have yet to locate Ochshorn. The search will continue Tuesday morning