Trio of hikers found safe after cold night on Mt. Hood

NEAR MOUNT HOOD, Ore. -- Search and Rescue teams were activated Sunday afternoon after three people got lost and spent the night in cold conditions on Mount Hood.

Just after 10:30 a.m. Monday, the hikers were all found safe. Search team members are leading them off the mountain, according to the Hood River County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said the group was planning on camping overnight and were equipped with sleeping bags and food.

The trio of one man and two women were snowshoeing, got lost and initially called for help Sunday afternoon while trying to reach a "rustic cabin," according to Russell Gubele with Mountain Wave Search and Rescue.

Family members said the three, identified as Mark Kelsey, Margarita Estrada and Deborah Shindler, were good friends and the hike to the cabin was to celebrate Estrada's birthday.

Mountain Wave's search and rescue teams looked for the hikers from about 1 p.m. until dark without success on Sunday. Searchers had to turn back due to bad weather, Gubele said.

Monday morning brought excellent conditions for searchers, with sun and clear skies. Deputies said the team of about 20 searchers using two snocats to check for the hikers.

Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue said Kelsey, who is in his 60's, has solo-climbed 20,320-foot tall Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, in Alaska in the past and is very experienced.

"If you had asked me before they got lost who I'd rather they'd be lost with, it'd be Mark Kelsey," Andy Ozeroff, Estrada's son said. "And every single one of them's experienced climbers in terms of wilderness survival."

"I watched him pack for this trip and it's ridiculous how much stuff he puts into his bag and carries," Kelsey's daughter Alexandra Kelsey said, but added "I'm still worried, regardless. I'm sure he would be fine."

Search teams began coordinating Monday's from the White River West Sno-Park on Highway 35.

KATU Meteorologist Joe Raineri said conditions on the mountain overnight were cold with snow falling.

Clackamas County, Mountain Wave and Portland Mountain Rescue assisted Hood River County and the Crag Rats in the search.