Danger on the Deschutes

After Canoe Accident First Responders Urge Caution in the Outdoors

A canoe trip on the Deschutes River above Dillon Falls turned tragic Thursday afternoon when it overturned, and both occupants were swept over the falls.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan talked to swift-water rescue experts today about precautions you can take when you decide to spend time on the Deschutes River.

First responders are urging those who want to venture into the great outdoors to prepare for the worst, that means packing extra clothing, food and water, ways to keep out of the sun such as hats, a map or GPS device, and other survival tools to not only potentially help yourself, but others as well.

Mystery at No Name Lake

Elk Carcasses Still Smelling Up the Popular Trail

Wildlife Biologists are still investigating the mystery behind 19 dead elk that were found on Broken Top, after a summer thaw revealed the carcasses that had been preserved in ice for at least a year.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan got a chance to talk with the hiker who first reported the dead elk to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife when he took his family up to No Name Lake and stumbled onto the gruesome scene.

Dead Elk at No Name Lake

A Warning to Hikers

A number of hikers were shocked this past week when they spotted a herd of dead elk buried in deep snow near Broken Top at 8,000 feet elevation.

Because the elks’ deaths were a natural occurrence, there are no plans to remove their carcasses from “No Name Lake”, but the wildlife biologists expect that scavengers will do what scavengers do now that the bodies are uncovered.

Central Oregon Daily photographer Tim Wehde can attest that it is smelly up there right now. So if you hike up to No Name Lake, he suggests keeping your distance.

Running for a Cause

Redmond Runner Plans 200 Mile Run to Raise Awareness for His Wife

The annual two-day Cascade Lakes Relay gets underway officially tomorrow, but two runners are already on the course. They’re planning to run more than 200 miles solo, instead of with a team.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan meets one of those runners, a Redmond man who is taking on the challenge to raise awareness of his wife’s chronic debilitating illness.

South Valley Fire

Residents in Dufur Threatened by Third Fire in Three Weeks

About 150 firefighters from around the state, as well as 150 local personnel, have responded to the rapidly growing South Valley Fire, which grew to more than 15,000 acres overnight. Crews worked overnight to build a fire line, and the fire is reported to be about five percent contained.

The Fire Marshal’s Office says at least 400 people are under the level 3 evacuation orders and at least 80 to 100 homes are threatened.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Highway 197 from milepost 14 to milepost 34 overnight while firefighters worked to control the flames. The highway has been re-opened in both directions and ODOT crews will continue to monitor fire activity in the area.

Officials say the fire is fueled by ponderosa pine, oak and wheat. Those dry fuels and steady winds over 45 miles per hour pushed the fire southeast.

The fire marshal’s office is currently investigating the fire as human-caused.

Tree Wells Cause Two Deaths at Mt. Bachelor

MT. BACHELOR OFFICIALS CONFIRM TWO DEATHS IN ONE DAY

On Friday a female skier was found in tree well just hours after the death of male snowboarder, also found in a tree well. Mt Bachelor officials issued this press release at 12:23am on Saturday morning:

“Following the death of an adult male snowboarder on Friday, a second guest fatality has occurred at Mt. Bachelor.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday, Mt. Bachelor ski patrol received a report of a missing adult female skier who had become separated from her friends.

Mt. Bachelor ski patrol launched a search with Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) and after several hours of searching, crews located the missing skier at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday evening in a tree well near the more-difficult White Bark run in the vicinity of the Cloudchaser lift. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a separate incident earlier Friday, at approximately 12:00 p.m., an adult male snowboarder was discovered in a tree well in the West Bowls, an experts-only area near the Northwest lift.

Ski patrol members arrived and performed CPR while transporting the snowboarder to the West Village base area. He was transferred to the care of local emergency response personnel, who pronounced him dead at 1:14 p.m.

Members of the Mt. Bachelor ski patrol and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are investigating both incidents.” 

“Our entire mountain community is shocked and saddened,” said John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager, in the press release. “To have two unrelated incidents in the same day is unthinkable. We are heartbroken and our deepest condolences go out to the affected families and friends.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed the identities of both the skier and snowboarder. The snowboarder was identified as 24-year-old Bend resident Alfonso Braun.

Search and Rescue personnel said Braun was found buried in about six feet of snow around noon on Friday in the West Bowls, an expert-only area off of the Northwest chairlift. After repeated attempts at CPR, emergency medical personnel pronounced Braun dead at the West Village parking lot.

The full release from the Sheriff’s Office, released at 12:47am is below:

“At approximately 12:00pm today, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel were dispatched to Mt. Bachelor for a report of a snowboarder found buried in the snow. Other skiers in the area began working to uncover the snowboarder, who was found to be unconscious and not breathing. Mt Bachelor Ski Patrol members arrived and began performing CPR while transporting the snowboarder to the West Village parking lot. The snowboarder, 24 year old Alfonso Braun of Bend, was pronounced deceased once being transferred into the care of awaiting emergency medical personnel.

Alfonso was found in the West Bowls, which is an expert-only area off of the Northwest chairlift. Weather at the time was reported to be mostly cloudy with light snow showers. Snow conditions at the time consisted of “unconsolidated powder”.

An investigation at the scene determined Braun had separated from his friends, snowboarding into a treed area. Braun snowboarded into a tree well, becoming buried in approximately six feet of snow, head first, where he was later found. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Detectives with the assistance of the Medical Examiner’s Office are further investigating this accident.”

The Sheriff’s Office also released the name of the skier found Friday. The skier was identified as 19-year-old Eugene resident Nicole Panet-Raymond.

Search and Rescue personnel said Panet-Raymond became separated from her friends around 3:30pm on Friday afternoon, and five hours later around 8:30pm, she was found in a tree well in the more-difficult White Bark run near the Cloudchaser lift. Panet-Raymond was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The full press release from the Sheriff’s Office, which was released at 1:02am on Saturday, is below:

“On March 2nd, 2018, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Mt. Bachelor ski patrol received a report of a missing adult female skier who had become separated from her friends.

Mt. Bachelor ski patrol launched a search with Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue and after several hours of searching, crews located the missing skier, 19 year old Nicole Panet-Raymond, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Nicole was located in a tree well near the more-difficult White Bark run in the vicinity of the Cloudchaser lift. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cell phone forensics were utilized in assisting searchers to locate Nicole. She was found buried in approximately six feet of snow, approximately 10 yards off of the White Bark run.”

Fatalities at ski areas resulting from falls into tree wells are fairly uncommon and McLeod said it was “exceptionally rare” for two unrelated incidents to occur in the same day at one ski area. Prior to Friday’s incidents, the last tree well fatality at Mt. Bachelor occurred in 2002.

Tree wells are an area of loose snow at the base of trees that pose a risk to skiers, snowboarders, hikers and snowshoers. The wells are often invisible from the surface but falling into one could cause injury or death due to suffocation.

Those participating in winter activities should be aware of the danger and avoid trees, since they mark tree wells, and always go out with a partner and maintain visual contact.

 

 

Mountain Film Festival Highlights Bend

New Short Film To Highlight Bend’s Environmental Center

The Environmental Center is on a mission, and they’re trying to spread the word in a new short film that will debut as part of the Mountain Film Festival at Tower Theatre this weekend. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom has a preview of the festival and the film.
The festival is already sold out for Saturday night’s showings but there are still a few tickets left at the box office for Friday night’s show.

Ski Mum: Ski Uphill at Mt. Bachelor

Ski Mum heads to Mt. Bachelor to ski uphill. Mt. Bachelor has added an uphill trail for skiers to test out their backcountry gear in the safety of the resort in order to get your fitness and comfort level up before heading out of bounds. The trail can get you all the way up to the Summit Lift when the lift is running and then, of course, you get to ski back down. It also lets you access the mountain for free! Snowboarders can also take advantage of the uphill trail, but you’ll need to pack your snowshoes.