An overnight search Thursday for a Portland man who went missing during a climbing trip on Mount St. Helens was called off Friday afternoon after the climber walked out to a road and caught a ride back to the city.
Patrick Johnston, 38, was part of a group of four hikers with a guide who reached the summit of the Southwest Washington volcano and were on their way back down the mountain when the man went ahead of the others to start packing up their camp. When the rest of the party reached the camp, it was still set up and Johnston was nowhere to be found, according to a bulletin from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.
The Volcano Rescue Team had checked areas on the mountain through the night. Mountain rescue team members from the Crag Rats from Hood River, Ore., and Portland Mountain Rescue joined in the search Friday, and military aircraft were requested.
The sheriff’s office received word from a third party early Friday afternoon that Johnston had walked out of the Mount St. Helens area to a road and was in a vehicle en route to Portland. Dispatch then contacted Johnston directly, who confirmed he was off the mountain.
Marble Mountain Sno-Park is the starting point for the Worm Flows Climbing Route for the Mount St. Helens summit. It’s the primary climbing route used during the winter.