Hiker Found Alive On Mountain After She Went Missing For A Week

Mount Hood, OR - A hiker found alive after she went missing a week ago is expected to make a full recovery in hospital.

23-year-old Mary Owen was spotted on Mount Hood in Oregon by a National Guard helicopter crew on Saturday morning. She was promptly flown to a nearby Portland hospital for treatment, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's spokesman Marcus Mendoza told The Associated Press that Owen, a college student, was suffering frostbite and possibly a fractured ankle. The Oregonian reported that news of Owen's rescue reached her mother, father, brother and roommate when they arrived at the Timberline Lodge parking lot.

Speaking to the newspaper, father Bruce Owen said, "We're completely relieved. We were concerned because she had been out so long."

Owen set off for a spring break hike on Sunday, March 24, informing a friend via email that she would be hiking on the 11,240-foot high Mount Hood. An experienced backpacker, Owen told her friend she planned to return late Sunday or Monday. But when days passed without her return, Owen's friend contacted her father to see whether he knew her whereabouts. Bruce Owen immediately contacted police.

Authorities found Owen's SUV in the parking lot at Timberline Lodge, two days before her eventual rescue. The sheriff's office said it appeared to have been there for some time, and that the hiker's backpack was still inside.

Speaking in an interview Friday, Bruce Owen said his daughter had originally planned to climb Mount Hood in a group, along with a man she had met on the North Sister in Central Oregon last year. Yet with the hiker found alive on her own, and no other missing persons reported on the mountain, it seems the plan for a group expedition had been abandoned.

Bruce Owen added that his daughter was always content to do something on her own. Though she is an experienced hiker, Owen added that his daughter did not have experience of technical climbing. She had previously hiked the length of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

Owen, a senior at George Fox University in Newberg, about 70 miles west of Mount Hood, is planning a career in Bible translation. She is now recovering at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, some 35 miles from Mount Hood.

Owen is far from the first person to require rescue from Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest peak. In November 2012, climber Jeff Kish was rescued after an unforeseen blizzard blinded him during his descent. In what was thought to be the first use of social media for such an emergency, Kish posted his dilemma on his Facebook page.