Climbers rescued on Mount Hood aided by treasure hunt boxVideo

03:55 PM PST on Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Associated Press and

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. - Two men who became lost on Mount Hood were able to aid rescuers after they found a geocache, a box used in a treasure hunt game, that contained their GPS location.

Rescuers safely guided Matthew Pitts and Justin Votos out of the snow-covered forest Tuesday morning, after the pair got lost in whiteout conditions while climbing on Mount Hood.

"We lost our way and ended up further west than we thought we would be," Pitts told KGW, just after reaching Timberline. The two men said they found themselves in whiteout conditions. At times, they couldn't even see their own feet and were afraid any misstep would send them tumbling over a cliff.

Rescue effort began Tuesday morning

Searchers got a break in their rescue effort Tuesday morning when a call got through to one of the men's cell phones. The climbers said they had built a snow cave and spent the night inside it, according to Jim Strovink with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

After the cell phone call, the pair began heading down the mountain, but they couldn't give rescuers an exact location since they did not have a mountain locator device. However, the pair found a Geocache, which helped searchers zero in on them. A Geocache is a box with a known GPS location, used in a game similar to a treasure hunt that's popular with backcountry adventurers.

Searchers following the climbers' phone and Geocache clues found them around 10 a.m., and then led the two men toward a trailhead near Government Camp.

Climbers were supposed to return Monday afternoon

Authorities first got word of the missing climbers around 9 p.m. Monday. Friends said the two men, described as experienced climbers in their 20s, had planned to descend the mountain on the west side and expected to arrive at Timberline around 3 p.m. Monday.

Searchers were able to find the overdue climber's vehicle in the parking lot at Timberline. The climbers had at least one cell phone, but efforts to use the phone to locate the men were unsuccessful.


Matthew Pitts and Justin Votos, left, hike out with rescuers

Searchers included units from Portland Mountain Rescue, Mountain Wave, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, American Medical Response and the Portland-based 304th U.S. Air Force Rescue Squadron.

Click here for full article from

Home | Introduction | Cache to Eagle | Rules
Activities | Games | Order | Resources