Rescuers reach 6 lost hikers in Oregon

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by KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 22 at 1:01 PM

PORTLAND, Oregon -- Rescuers have reached the six hikers who became stranded on a cliff between the Oneonta Gorge and Multnomah Falls after getting lost Wednesday.

The woman and five teens were part of a church youth group. Searchers said they "cliffed out," meaning they went down a steep incline to a point where they could neither descend or ascend.

"They are hanging in there and they're doing really well at this point," said Sgt. Stephen Dangler with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.

The hikers were located about 2 a.m. Thursday, in good condition, but could not immediately be reached by rescuers due to their precarious position.  They had only limited supplies with them and were not prepared to spend the night in the woods.

Bringing them out will require a high-angle rope rescue, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.  Rescuers were able to get to them before noon Thursday and were preparing the harnesses and other equipment to safely get them down.

The hikers were located on a steep incline leading down to a cliff below Cougar Rock, at about 1,000 feet elevation, officials said.  The woman was identified as Julie Fritts, 57, of Grass Valley.  The teens were from Oregon City, Gladstone and Grass Valley, according to officials.

Dangler said the hikers did not have warm clothing, flashlights or much food and water with them. He said Thursday's rescue served as an important reminder why people should always  bring emergency supplies with them, just in case.

"Have a plan, let people know what you're plan is going to be and be prepared for the elements," he added. "Carry the basics, including food and water and enough gear to be able to survive overnight."

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