Missing Hikers Rescued After Fall in Deep Ravine in Skamania County


Two missing hikers were rescued from a deep ravine in the Trapper Creek Wilderness area in Skamania County.

Paula Bailes, 38, of Grandview, and Madison Sartain, 22, of Grandview, were reported missing Sunday night.

Their mother told deputies they had planned to hike in the area north of Carson, camp there Saturday night and return home Sunday afternoon.

Skamania County deputies said their car was quickly located parked at the Trapper Creek Trailhead on Sunday night. A search operation was launched the following morning that included crews from around the region, as well as family members of the hikers.

Along with ground crews, a helicopter spent nearly six hours Monday searching the area, but there was no sign of the hikers.

The search continued into the evening, with searchers on snowmobiles checking other arterial trails. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office also sent out a plane with a FLIR thermal imaging camera, but the women were still not found.

The search resumed Tuesday morning. At 11 a.m., both Bailes and Sartain were found by a family member near Howe Ridge. Additional search members reached their location and the hikers were able to walk out under their own power.

Deputies said Bailes and Sartain had camped for the night Saturday as planned, but as they hiked out Sunday morning the trail gave out and they tumbled into a deep ravine.

They both heard the search plane, but they were covered by the dense tree canopy.

Deputies said the hikers were both tired, but uninjured. Family members said they were not very experienced, but they did have supplies and adequate clothing for wet and cold weather conditions.

“A strong family and friend response, accompanied by local and state resources helped bring this search to a positive conclusion. It also illustrates the dangers of hiking unfamiliar areas and being prepared if something does happen,” said Skamania County Undersheriff Pat Bond.

During the initial search efforts Monday, deputies said two other overdue hikers were located, as well.

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