While the Search and Rescue crews in the Columbia River Gorge had to suspend the search for Annie Schmidt, selected volunteers and family are continuing their search.
Quick update on the search for Annie. My brothers Jesse and Dave, and our good friend Dave Perry and I have spent the last two days hiking, rappelling, and mountaineering into very technical areas that the average hiker could only have accessed if they have fallen.
Working closely and coordinating our searches with search and rescue, we have been able to scour an incredible amount of area. My brothers fit bit showed yesterday that we hiked over 28,000 steps and burnt over 6,000 calories, which is more impressive as a 40 year old than if I were back in my 20’s. The undergrowth and shrubbery is exceedingly thick and could easily conceal a person who has fallen.
We had over 150 volunteers on Saturday who have so thoroughly searched the intricate trail systems with some trails reaching about 14 miles one way. But we are now conducting atypical searches, sweeping down hill sides, scouring through the underbrush. This type of bush wacking searching is exceedingly more labor intensive and requires someone to be in relatively good shape.
We are also expecting rain in today’s forecast, so volunteers will need to have water proof gear (trust me, after 20 feet through the underbrush, you will be soaked. And then you will get really cold.) The terrain is steep and treacherous, with some areas only accessible through mountaineering and rappelling with climbing gear.
That is what me and my brothers have been doing, we have the equipment and the mountaineering skill that we have been searching the areas that most searchers cannot reach. We feel strongly that today we need to search an area that is a 200 foot drop into a river gorge with water falls both at the top and at the bottom of the gorge. Search and rescue sent a drone with a thermal imaging camera up the gorge, but we are concerned that it might not have been able to accurately see through the undergrowth. We are rappelling in to check thoroughly. We are continuing the search for at least another two days, Monday and Tuesday, and then we will evaluate our options if still unsuccessful. I would like to thank everyone who has volunteered and helped in the search. We have been tremendously blessed. And thank you for all the prayers. They are sustaining us old guys. Annie, your uncles are coming for you!!!
Our prayers are with the Schmidt family and the continued safety of all of the volunteers who are bravely looking for her in treacherous conditions there.