WASHOUGAL, Wash. -- Two hikers fell off the edge of a steep trail in the Columbia River Gorge Wednesday and both suffered injuries, authorities said.
James VanLente, 75, of Wilsonville, and Martin Schwartz, 68, of Portland were hiking along the Cape Horn trail when VanLente slipped on ice and fell about 30 feet, said Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox.
Schwartz was trying to help VanLente when he also slipped. He slid past his friend and into an ice chute, which sent him plummeting about 150 feet down the hillside, Cox said.
It took several hours for rescuers to reach Schwartz and they had to carry him out with a stretcher. VanLente was able to walk to the trailhead without assistance. Both were transported to Southwest Washington Medical center for treatment.
“We were very fortunate,” Cox said. “With the freezing temperatures, high winds, and icy conditions, the responding rescue personnel did an outstanding job with this four-hour operation and everyone went home safe."
The Cape Horn trailhead is located off State Highway 14, just past the town of Washougal in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area.