Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has coordinated a multi-agency search and rescue effort on Mt. Shasta to find missing hiker Charity Christiana Stevens of southern California.
Stevens, age 36, has been missing since Wednesday, July 26, after being separated on the Clear Creek Trail while hiking with her friend, Heather Bakner, also from southern California, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff Deputy Search and Rescue Coordinator Mike Burns.
The Sheriff’s Office reported receiving a 911 call from Stevens at about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, reporting that she was at the 13,000 foot level of the mountain.
“The citizen reported she did not have warm clothing but did have food and water. When contacted, the hiker advised SCSO that she was going to spend the night on the mountain. She was advised a United States Forest Service (USFS) Rescue Ranger would be en route to her location on Thursday, July 27th no later than 6:00 a.m.,” according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
“She was last seen wearing an ankle length green or yellow neon dress,” said Burns. “Her hiking partner, Bakner, chose not to summit, turned around to head back to camp and Stevens continued up the trail. Charity herself, said that she is cold but not in medical distress when she called 911. She was advised that we’d be up first thing on the 27th since it was not a medical emergency. Now we are in operation period (day) two.”
Stevens was last seen by her hiking partner between 5 and 7 p.m. at the 8,700-foot level on the trail on Wednesday, according to Burns.
Her cell phone was either turned off or dead as of Friday.
SCSO SAR team members, led by Burns, initiated a response and mutual aid was requested from other counties in California and (CORSAR) SAR members from Oregon,” according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Along with USFS assets, assistance and support was received from the California Highway Patrol H-16 helicopter and the California Army National Guard deployed two aircraft, a ground tracking crew, and emergency communications personnel. The CARNG also provided use of the Mt. Shasta CARNG armory to assist with logistics for the SAR operation.
The SAR personnel pinpointed an approximate location for Stevens, 36, of Laguna Nigel, Calif., according to the Sheriff’s Office release on Friday. “Based on information obtained by SCSO and USFS she was originally located near the Mud Creek Glacier near Red Banks. The latest location obtained by rescuers was at the 8,500 level near the Clear Creek Trail Head.”
Josephine County, Oregon, Sheriff Deputy Search and Rescue coordinator Cory Krauss said, “We have a climbing ranger team in Ash Creek drainage, another team coming down Mud Creek drainage and a third team down Clear Creek drainage. We have a team searching Wintoon Glacier and a team searching the entire Clear Creek Trail to the summit and a team on the Red Fir Trail. We have vehicles and ATVs running the southern half of Mt. Shasta’s road systems up to the northeast corner. We are distributing flyers to all the trail heads and at Fifth Season in Mt. Shasta where hikers frequent.”
Approximately 55 volunteers from California and Oregon Search and Rescue are involved.
A radio command post is located at the Pilgrim Creek Snowmobile Park where there is room for the helicopters and good radio reception.
Charity Christiana Stevens is described as a 36-year-old female, 5 feet 7 inches, 125 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes, last seen wearing a green or yellow ankle length neon dress.
“We are very concerned about her welfare but we are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from our federal, state, and local partners,” states Sheriff Jon Lopey in the news release. “We urge all hikers on the mountain to avoid SAR equipment, personnel, and aircraft and to use caution in the area due to on-going search efforts.”
Anyone with information about Stevens’ whereabouts is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-Hour Dispatch Center at 530-841-2900.