GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. -- A snowboarder who got lost in a blizzard on Mount Hood was airlifted to safety by the crew aboard an Oregon Army NationalGuard Black Hawk helicopter Monday morning.
The snowboarder got lost Sunday near Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and was forced to spend the night in below-freezing temperatures.
The helicopter crew spotted 27-year-old Julian Brantley Acree, III squatting under trees just before 11:30 a.m., and rescued him.
The search had begun the night before, after Acree called for help on his cell phone. He said he hiked towards the Hogsback area of the mountain Sunday afternoon, planning to snowboard down. Then, as he descended on his snowboard, he got lost in blizzard conditions.
He found shelter under a tree to get through the extremely cold night. Temperatures dropped to a mere 16 degrees on the mountain Sunday night and visibility was extremely poor.
I just kind of set up shop ... did the fetal position thing, Acree said. Just complete whiteout and I lost my way, he said. I was calling the deputy every hour and he was reassuring me, saying 'we are out looking for you.' It was quite an experience i don t know what to say people should be more safe than I was.
I just didn't have the right gear, he said. If I'd have had a GPSI'd have got down fine.
Rescuers told him to stay put as they searched the west side of the mountain.
KGW's Sky-8 helicopter was able to fly over the mountain to aid in the search and the man told rescuers over the phone around 8:30 a.m. that that he was excited to hear the helicopter overhead. But Sky-8 was forced to leave and refuel. A short time later, the Black Hawk helicopter crew arrived and began searching the treeline, until eventually finding Acree and airlifting him off the mountain.
Acree is from Roanoke, Virginia and he did not have extra food or clothing with him, so he could have been in serious trouble if rescuers hadn't reached him so fast. He walked to a waiting ambulance to get checked over after the helicopter crew landed at Timberline.
Detective Jim Strovink with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said the paramedics released Acree in good spirits and in good medical condition.
Acree spoke to reporters moments later and he was a man of few words who looked tired, but relieved his life-threatening ordeal was over.
Back home, he manages a snowboarding shop.