TraditionalMountaineering Logo - representing the shared 
companionship of the Climb

Home | Information | Photos | Calendar | News | Seminars | Experiences | Questions | Updates | Books | Conditions | Links | Search

  Search this site!
Read more:

Climber Corwin Osborn lost in Three Sisters Wilderness

"Corwin Charles Osborn of Bellevue, Washington, was 45 when he disappeared in June 2001 while hiking from the Devils Lake Trailhead, with plans to solo climb one or perhaps all of the Three Sisters peaks. 
The athletic, experienced climber was dropped off on the morning of June 17 by his father, and was planning to meet him at the Lava Camp Trailhead on state Highway 242 later that day. He never turned up, and a massive air and ground search turned up no sign of the missing man."  --News Release.

Hiker's family thanks searchers
Brother, father of missing Osborn believe he didn't survive the week
The Bulletin
By Tom Peterson
June 26, 2001

The family of the Bellevue, Wash., hiker lost more than a week ago in the Sisters Wilderness recreation area are presuming the 46-year-old is dead after enduring a week of freezing temperatures with only a day's supply of water and food.

Corwin Osborn, described by family and friends as an expert climber capable of covering between 20 and 40 miles a day, embarked on a hike to summit North, Middle and South Sisters on June 17, 2001, at 6 am.

He planned to meet back up with his 76-year-old father, Howard Osborn, at 9 p.m. at Lava Camp, but never showed.

Osborn's brother Nate said Monday that the massive search effort by Lane and Deschutes counties search and rescue teams "was a lot more than my brother ever wanted. He is a climber. He never expected this to happen to him. But he knew these were the risks and he chose to take them."

The family met with search coordinators for about two hours Monday morning, during which time they were told the search efforts would cease.

Osborn moved to Seattle in 1984 to take advantage of the unique climbing opportunities in the Northwest, his brother said. "He came out West to climb. He liked moving fast along trails to get to places that you had to hike fast to because they are so far away. And he liked getting off trails to see the beauty."

Nate and Howard Osborn, who planned on traveling back to their homes this week in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia respectively, said they had no hope for Corwin's survival.

"I don't know why (he would be alive)," said his father, who complimented the 250 volunteer searchers who scoured 150 square miles of wilderness during the past seven days.

"When people undertake risks like this, other people don't have responsibility to find them," Howard Osborne said. "These pe0ple (searchers) have the biggest hearts I've ever seen. If people could do this every day, we'd have a wonderful world."

Deschutes County Search and Rescue coordinator Joel McNamara said, chances of Osborn's survival were low to zero and search crews would now be looking for a body.

Aircraft have been flying over the Sisters Wilderness for days. and "if Osborn was in good enough shape to signal, he would have," said John Miller of Lane County Search and Rescue. Howard Osborn speculated his son's death was a "quick and dirty" affair.

The Bulletin


Snowman's' Guiding News
Corwin Osborn Accident Analysis
September 2001

In June there was hiker/climber lost in the Sisters Wilderness in Oregon while reportedly attempting the traverse of all three peaks from south to north. The day he was reported missing I was skiing the Hayden Glacier and climbing Middle Sister with a few friends. At the saddle north of Middle Sister a lone climber walked by without stopping to say anything. It was later established that this was the missing climber.

We were up there on a Sunday, and two days later I heard of the missing climber from a friend on Search and Rescue. I mentioned that we had seen a lone person, and eventually this was passed on to the Deschutes County sheriffs office. I ended up with a phone number to call over there which was never answered. Eventually I did describe our encounter to somebody.

This potential last-sighting information, two days later, was entirely ignored by Deschutes County. On Friday I went to South Sister to potentially ski and on the radio I heard they were searching the woods out to the west of South Sister. A very unlikely place. By Friday evening Lane County had gotten more involved, and eventually through members of the SAR teams they learned of my possible sighting. By the time they got a photo to me via e-mail and I could confirm it a week had passed. At this point there was only a day or so to search the North Sister area before weather moved in.

One result of this is that a volunteer SAR member in Corvallis realized the potential of distributing requests for information to various clubs in the region. (While we were on the mountain there was also a group from the Ptarmigans there. They were larger and set up fixed rope so I felt they may have spoken with the missing guy, and I told both Deschutes and Lane counties that.) Last week a guy wandered off on Mt Hood, never to be seen again. Early on during the search effort an e-mail went out to clubs such as the Mazamas and the Oregon Mountaineering Association to be forwarded to members in case somebody had seen the guy. It's not clear how well or how quickly the different clubs can get this to their members or leaders but it has the potential to help SAR groups get more information early in the search.

Another issue in this search, as somewhat of an aside, was the Forest Service parking pass. Despite the high-profile search going on and being staged from certain trailheads there were tickets issued for not having a pass. Some recipients included SAR volunteers, and even (in an act of incredible insensitivity) people close to the missing climber who were helping search or awaiting any information. Given the circumstances one would think that they could have let up a bit on enforcement of this "demonstration" program for a few days.



Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can, only in part, be mitigated


Read more . . .
American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering

  North Sister
Timberline Mountain Guides lead North Sister climbs
North Sister, the Terrible Traverse in September, 1999
Middle and North Sister exploratory adventure   
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
North Sister, Scott's solo summer summit
North Sister exploratory
North Sister winter solo
North Sister: crux photos of the Three Sisters Marathon
North Sister by the south east ridge

  North Sister Experiences
North Sister accident claims another climber
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
North Sister, North Ridge by Sam Carpenter
North Sister, the Martina Testa Story
North Sister, SE Ridge solo by Sam Carpenter

  Lost and found
Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake
Hiking couple lost three nights in San Jacinto Wilderness find abandoned gear
Expert skier lost five days in North Cascades without Essentials, map and compass
Climber disappears on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Hiker lost five days in freezing weather on Mount Hood
Professor and son elude search and rescue volunteers
Found person becomes lost and eludes rescuers for five days
Teens, lost on South Sister, use cell phone with Search and Rescue
Lost man walks 27 miles to the highway from Elk Lake Oregon
Snowboarder Found After Week in Wilderness
Searchers rescue hiker at Smith Rock, find lost climbers on North Sister
Girl found in Lane County after becoming lost on hiking trip
Search and rescue finds young girls lost from family group
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Rescues after the recent snows
Novice couple lost in the woods
Search called off for missing climber Corwin Osborn
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
Ollalie Trail - OSU Trip - Lost, No Map, Inadequate Clothing

  Mountaineering Accidents
Mount Hood - Analysis of the December 2009 deaths of three climbers on Reid Glacier Headwall
Smith Rock climber survives 40-foot fall, rescued by SAR
Smith Rock climber rescued after 70-foot sliding fall
Two climbers die in fall from Horsethief Butte Crags
Mt. Hood climber badly injured by summer rockfall
Mount Hood - Fatal ice fall below the Pearly Gates during warming winter weather
Man rescued from crevasse just off South Sister climber's trail
Father and sons rescued descending South Sister in storm on Labor Day
Mount Hood climber falls descending Mazama Chute from the summit
Mt. Hood climber killed by summer rockfall
Climber on Mt. Rainier dies, others injured
Young climber stuck on a steep snow slope rescued from Mt. Hood
Climbers badly injured during 500-foot sliding fall on Mt. Hood
Final Report to the American Alpine Club on the loss of three climbers on Mount Hood in December 2006
Climber on Mt. Rainier dies of hypothermia in brief storm. What happened
Death on Mt. Hood - What happened to the three North Face climbers? 
Three Fingered Jack - OSU student falls on steep scree slope
Climber injured by rockfall, rescued by helicopter from Mount Washington, Oregon
Three Mountaineers struck by rock-fall in North Cascades
Solo climber falls from Cooper Spur on Mount Hood
Climber dies on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Climbers swept by avalanche while descending North Sister's Thayer Glacier Snowfield
Wilderness Travel Course Newsletter  this is a large PDF file
Runaway glissade fatal for Mazama climber on Mt. Whitney
Yosemite's El Capitan tests rescuers' skills
Climbers fall from Mount Hood's Sandy Glacier Headwall
Solo hiker drowns while crossing Mt. Hood's Sandy River
Injured climber rescued from Mount Washington
Mt. Washington tragedy claims two climbers
Another Mt. Rainier climber dies on Liberty Ridge
Mt. Rainier climber dies after rescue from Liberty Ridge
Young hiker suffers fatal fall and slide in the Three Sisters Wilderness
North Sister claims another climber
Solo climber Aron Ralston forced to amputate his own arm
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
Grisly find: hikers on Broken Top find apparent human remains
Once again, cell phone alerts rescuers of injured climber
Storm on Rainier proves fatal
Mountain calamity on Hood brings safety to the fore!
Fall into the Bergschrund on Mt. Hood, rescuers crash!
Paying the price for rescue
Accidents in North American Mountaineering
Goran Kropp killed while rock climbing in Washington