Sheriff Mike Morrison reports at approximately 9:30 pm on January 5th, 2024 RiverCom Dispatch received a call from Washington State Department of Emergency Management who were reporting a hiker in distress. The hiker activated the SOS feature on their InReach device to call for help. The hiker, a 36 year-old male from Seattle was plotting in the vicinity of Isolation Lake near the base of Dragontail Peak and stated he was trapped and freezing.
A Chelan County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue coordinator worked with the Chelan County Mountain Rescue volunteer group and determined they would not be able to deploy all the way to the hiker due to avalanche risk in the Aasgard pass area. A hoist capable helicopter was requested and the US Army Air Ambulance Detachment, Yakima “Dustoff” accepted the mission. They deployed to the area but were unable to reach the hiker due to weather and were forced to turn around.
On January 6th, the Yakima Dustoff unit continued attempts to reach the hiker but were forced to turn around twice during the day due to weather. Chelan County Mountain Rescue Volunteers deployed to the area with the assistance of Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue. The CCMR personnel planned to hike in to Colchuck Lake where they could provide assistance if the hiker worked his way down or they could hike up Aasgard pass if conditions improved.
At approximately 4:50 pm, the helicopter was able to fly to the hiker and hoist him out.
He was transported to Yakima Memorial Hospital in stable condition with cold related injuries. Weather in the Dragontail Peak area was forecast to be well below zero during the night of January 6th.
It is important to remember weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains during the winter and never to hike alone into remote areas. Although there are skilled search and rescue personnel able to respond, rescuers may be prevented from reaching you due to weather conditions.