Crews 'optimistic' as they resume search for missing hiker on Mt. Hood

The search for missing hiker, David Yaghmourian, continued on Mount Hood on Oct. 11, 2018. KATU photo and photo courtesy Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

Dozens of search and rescue volunteers returned to Mount Hood Thursday morning to launch day three in the mission to find missing hiker, David Yaghmourian.

He was last seen Monday morning by his friend and hiking companion, Hayden Kirschbaum, just after 8 a.m., a little more than a mile from Timberline lodge.

“I don’t personally know how you’re that close to Timberline and disappear,” said Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue, adding that they couldn’t have more perfect conditions to search. “We’re optimistic and doing our best to cover the search area. We’ll look in new areas, and what not and keep expanding the search area. There’s a methodology we go through to this and we’re following that and it’s proven by good science that this is how you find people.”

Search and rescue crews have combed trough the area, searching the trail itself and west of the lodge, in case Yaghmourian accidentally went past it. According to a search and rescue commander with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office, crews will re-search the Timberline Trail, backtracking where the two hikers came from. Other crews will head down the Pacific Crest Trail. They will also have assistance from an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter, as well as a plane from Hood River County. They are also exploring the option of bringing Kirschbaum out with search crews, so he can directly pinpoint the location he and Yaghmourian parted ways.

Kirschbaum said on Monday morning, the two were wrapping up a 40-mile, three-day hike around the mountain on the Timberline Trail when the friend pushed on ahead. He said Yaghmourian wanted to rest a bit and they agreed to meet in the lodge lobby, since they were only a half hour from finishing the trail.

Yaghmourian never showed. After a few hours, Kirschbaum said he went looking for him, and eventually called authorities for help.

Yaghmourian had a tent and sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees. He also had some food left and has a water filtration system on him, according to Kirschbaum.

Yaghmourian’s parents are staying at Timberline lodge and have not been down at the command post as of Thursday morning. They have said they are in awe of all the search and rescue crews, mostly volunteers who drop everything in their normal lives to search the wilderness for a perfect stranger.

“Both my wife and I are so ever thankful for all the people that have helped us. Without them, we'd be nothing, and we'd be so helpless here,” Gerry Yaghmourian, David’s father, told KATU on Wednesday.

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