Lost Mt. Hood Hiker Found After Posting GPS Coordinates on Facebook

13 Dec 2012

A hiker who recently got lost on Mt. Hood is found with the help of the social media platform Facebook and GPS technology.

The hiker was climbing Mt. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon and the most frequently climbed in the US, when a whiteout caused him to become lost at the summit. He was found by searchers just before midnight and warmed up before being brought down the mountain.

Jeffrey Kish, 30, reached out to friends on Facebook around 3:30 pm stating that he was stuck in whiteout conditions and couldn’t find his way back down the mountain. The visibility was almost non-existent and after falling down more than once, he knew he needed help.

With a GPS tracking device on hand, Kish was able to post his GPS coordinates on Facebook and ask for assistance with this status message: “Ok Guys. I have no idea where I am, other than right on the edge of some gnarly cliff. Too far east or west?”

When he was unable to determine which direction to proceed, Kish called 911 with his cell phone and gave them his coordinates.

Again he updated his Facebook status: “You’re gonna hear about it in the news anyway, may as well spill it myself. Got stuck in a storm on the summit of Mt. Hood. Stuck on cliffs over 10,000’ in a white out. Called 911 after several hours of trying to self rescue Search and rescue has been notified. Wish me luck!”

He also told friends he was staying hurled up inside a closed sleeping bag to try to stay warm until search and rescue could get him out.

The search and rescue team from Clackamas County followed his GPS coordinates to his location and reached him at 11:45 pm. After being rescued and brought down the mountain, Kish was brought to a nearby hospital. As luck would have it, the hiker sustained no injuries due the white out’s wrath.

The search and rescue team wants the public to understand the importance of being prepared, which may have saved Jeffrey Kish’s life. “If you are going to climb in the winter time, it is absolutely critical that among other things you have your navigation skills dialed in,” said Rollins. “You’ve got a map, compass, GPS, altimeter – you know how to use these things and you have an intimate knowledge of the mountain,” said Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue, and who coordinated Kish’s rescue.

Kish, an experienced hiker and outdoorsman, was prepared for unpredictable bad weather. Along with his GPS tracker device, he had food and water to last him for a few days.

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