OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A backpacker reported overdue on Thursday was found late Sunday, hoisted from a ravine in the Seven Stream drainage just north of Six Ridge and airlifted to Olympia for medical evaluation and care, Olympic National Park reported.
Jerren Fisher, 26, of New York was in stable condition, said Penny Wagner, park spokesperson. She did not know which hospital in the Olympia area he was taken to, so an update on his condition was not available on Monday.
Fisher was found four days after he was reported missing by his family on Thursday and eight days after the ending date on his wilderness permit, set from Sept. 8-12.
He was on a road trip by himself, his family said. He was planning to camp at Enchanted Valley, Marmot Lake, Camp Pleasant and Sundown Lake, Wagner said.
An Olympic National Park search and rescue team located Fisher, through shouting to each other, at about 4:35 p.m. Sunday and talked with him, Wagner said, but could not reach him because of the steep terrain.
Searchers had not been able to use air resources until a break in the stormy weather when they contacted Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles with a request for air rescue assistance. After the Coast Guard was contacted at 5:10 p.m., an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew was launched.
Once in the vicinity, it took the aircrew about 30 minutes to locate Fisher. The hiker signaled to the helicopter with flashlight, the Coast Guard said.
Due to fuel constraints and the complexity of the hoist, another aircrew aboard a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria also was dispatched, the Coast Guard said.
At 7:16 p.m., the Olympic National Park search and rescue teams visually spotted Fisher in the Seven Stream drainage just north of Six Ridge, Wagner said.
The Astoria aircrew took over from Port Angeles at 7:20 p.m. and deployed its rescue swimmer into the ravine. They hoisted Fisher from the ravine at about 8 p.m. and took him to Olympia Regional Airport, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard aircrew hoisted Fisher from the ravine at about 8 p.m. and took him to Olympia Regional Airport, landing at about 8:30 p.m. He was transferred to emergency medical technicians awaiting him.
Six teams had been out searching for Fisher on Sunday. His last known location had been the Graves Creek Trailhead in the Quinault Rain Forest, where rangers found his vehicle.
Rangers had been interviewing people who were on the same trails.
Fisher was described as standing 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, with light brown hair in a ponytail and a thick red beard. He is known to hike in tie-dye T-shirts and bright colors, the park had said.
On Thursday, search and rescue personnel hiked into the wilderness from the Graves Creek Trailhead toward Sundown Lake following Fisher’s itinerary in reverse, as well as from the North Fork Skokomish Trail, Wagner said.
National Park Service personnel who were already in the wilderness assisted with the search between Marmot Lake and Camp Pleasant. Olympic Mountain Rescue also joined the search efforts on Thursday and worked in the area of Six Ridge and the Seven Stream drainage area.
On Friday, search teams covered the area from Sundown Lake to South Fork Skokomish Trail via Sundown Pass, Sundown Lake to the North Fork Skokomish Trail via Six Ridge Pass and the North Fork Skokomish Trail from Staircase to Six Ridge.
On Saturday, searchers combed the Wynoochee Pass Trail and the switchbacks in the Seven Stream area, Wagner said.
Teams in the field were made up of Olympic Mountain Rescue and Tacoma Mountain Rescue volunteers with assistance from National Park Service personnel, Washington State Search and Rescue Planning Unit and North Cascades National Park.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].