Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Use this forum to post links to news stories from other websites - ones that other hikers might find interesting. This is not intended for original material or anecdotal information. You can reply to any news stories posted, but do not start a new thread without a link to a specific news story.
User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 2135
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by Bosterson » February 4th, 2021, 6:38 pm

Chip Down wrote:
February 4th, 2021, 6:05 pm
A post in one of my TRs:
Why would you need to backtrack if you couldn't find the trail down? Very few places in the Gorge would require this, since north takes you back towards the river.
My reply:
There are countless horror stories of hikers saying "I'll just go north, it will surely take me back to the river".
Ha, I thought I wrote that. But I think I meant in the context of planned off trail exploration, especially on Defiance when you mostly knew where you were (and certainly, unlike the part of Defiance you were on, the Gorton area is "one of those places" where heading north world be bad); it's definitely not a solution to being lost if you're unprepared. And we were talking about going north, not just downhill - I really have no idea which direction this guy went, because I have no idea where he even left the trail. (I don't even know where he was going... Was he trying to loop the full Gorton to Nick Eaton, or go up one of the cutoffs? I've done the Gorton cutoff in the last year, but isn't the Deadwood cutoff nuked...?) There are lots of downhills that do not lead north, and I did not get the impression this guy was using a compass...

I don't have FB either, so if he posted more answers about where he went, please share!
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2294
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by Chip Down » February 4th, 2021, 6:49 pm

Bosterson took my bait! :lol:

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 3898
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by Don Nelsen » February 4th, 2021, 7:17 pm

From what he wrote, it makes sense that he lost the trail on Gorton once he was up the switchbacks above Deadwood. I've hiked that three times in the past year and though it's much better than it was, it sill would be very easy to lose the trail - especially if there's snow on the ground and no one else has put down tracks.

I have no idea what he was thinking when he said he wanted to "complete the loop" and it was about an hour to dusk. What the hell! He was at least three hours just to get to IP so no way to get back before dark and he hadn't taken his headlamp. Also, he said he didn't think he could retrace back to where he knew there was trail. Cripes, what about following your own tracks in the snow!?

This is a really strange story, but what the heck, very entertaining. Glad he survived but I'm surprised he did.

I've attached a map of the entire trail system showing every possible trail loop and there's nothing that isn't a major jaunt from where he must have been. I know Wyeth trail is closed but he may not have known that.

He took the photo on his Facebook page from somewhere along the yellow line.

dn

Image
"Everything works in the planning stage".

User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 2135
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by Bosterson » February 4th, 2021, 9:33 pm

Good eye, DN. That foreground bump with the road in his pic is easy to find in sat view, and the straight line from Adams across its summit is right where you say. (I love Caltopo! :D ) I'm guessing the loop he was trying was just the normal Gorton-Nick Eaton loop, though if he was going up Gorton, it seems like the sketchy/snowy part above Deadwood is still obviously less than halfway through and he would've just turned around. (Maybe you're right and he was trying to do Gorton-Wyeth and didn't know the latter was closed...) He talks about the "stream" in his ordeal, so I wonder if he actually descended east into Gorton Creek itself and then tried to follow that down. The really sad thing is that from basically any point on the Gorton Creek trail, if you're lost the solution is to go up and catch Nick Eaton, which despite any potential bushwhacking is just up a rather mellow slope, and since Nick Eaton is a ridge it's easy to follow back down - versus trying to go down to the north into a maze of death gullies... :? After reading his ordeal, I am also rather surprised he survived!
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

User avatar
acorn woodpecker
Posts: 237
Joined: January 4th, 2013, 8:35 pm

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by acorn woodpecker » February 4th, 2021, 11:12 pm

An insane and unfortunately all too common ordeal in the Gorge. Definitely lucky he made out alive. Having accompanied Bosterson and been on my own in much of that area on and off trail, I shudder to think what a lost ill prepared person unfamiliar with the terrain would experience. I can almost imagine what careening northward down cliffs, through brush, over downed trees, and water with an almost Sisyphean hope of "hitting trail" intoxicating under hypothermic duress. I, too, wonder if he was trying to make a loop out of Gorton Creek to Wyeth, which would make no sense given the time constraints and the Wyeth Trail closure (but that would require prior research and some knowledge of the area) rather than just consulting a phone with a trail map on it. His photo of Adams definitely looks like it's taken from what I call "Deadwood" Ridge. Makes sense to think he was lured into the Gorton Creek drainage/Wyeth Ridge complex, from that point. Not much more to say what Bosterson and DN haven't already said...

User avatar
aiwetir
Posts: 552
Joined: December 10th, 2014, 11:54 am
Contact:

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by aiwetir » February 5th, 2021, 12:11 am

retired jerry wrote:
February 4th, 2021, 1:46 pm
As I remember, the Asian guy that died in the southern Oregon coast range a few years ago went downhill into a canyon thinking that was a good idea

His family that stayed in their car survived

The car got stuck in the snow
That’s not what happened in this case.
- Michael

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13341
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by retired jerry » February 5th, 2021, 6:28 am

then what happened? like I said, it was just my memory

I think these stories are good so we know how to avoid repeating any mistakes, definitely not criticizing anyone

johnspeth
Posts: 225
Joined: July 30th, 2013, 8:33 am

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by johnspeth » February 5th, 2021, 7:02 am

These hike-gone-wrong stories can always be root-caused to a single seemingly inconsequential decision that leads to a cascade of increasingly flawed actions. In this case, we can argue the root cause is the hiker didn't have a solid plan B at the ready when plan A was not possible (Eagle Creek closed). So plan B depended on an inadequately charged cell phone battery and wrong decisions cascaded from there.

For people who can't seem to pick their noses without their glowy rectangular companions, I would imagine that the temporary loss of of said companions could unsettle the decision making process. I make this point because small things can have big consequences if they are not considered carefully. As you can see, I abhor cell phones.

My hiking rule is occasionally look back from where I came and confirm that I have an absolutely reliable escape path. There is no shame in cutting out from the planned hike and returning unharmed.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 13341
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by retired jerry » February 5th, 2021, 8:21 am

"My hiking rule is occasionally look back from where I came and confirm that I have an absolutely reliable escape path. There is no shame in cutting out from the planned hike and returning unharmed."

Yeah, exactly!

You can still carry phone. I have adopted this new fangled device. I am frequently looking at where I'm going on the map, it's sort of like a computer game.

RobFromRedland
Posts: 1027
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Hiker rescued off Gorton Creek trail

Post by RobFromRedland » February 5th, 2021, 9:47 am

And another important thing is that if you ARE going to depend on your cell phone, you need to make sure you bring a charging battery pack - because if you don't you will most likely lose your phone when you most need it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

Post Reply