MOUNT HOOD, ORE. – Late Friday afternoon, members of the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Patrol located evidence that a body was buried in avalanche debris in Clark Creek, located in the Heather Canyon area, much of which is rated black or double black diamond. Due to declining daylight and the technical aspect of a recovery, an operation was scheduled for early Saturday.
Around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, personnel from the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Patrol and Hood River County Sheriff’s Office were able to extricate the body from the creek. The operation, which required a rope team, took about two hours. Personnel were able to identify the body as Ryan Mather, 30 years old, of Aloha, who was reported missing on the evening of April 5. Mather’s family was notified of the recovery late Saturday morning.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ryan’s family,” said Hood River County Sheriff Matt English. “This has been an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching five days for them.” English went on to say, “We are extremely thankful to all of the agencies and organizations that helped search for Ryan and ultimately recover him for his family.”
Searchers faced a variety of weather and snow conditions in the highly technical terrain during the five days of active searching. Much of the area was under active avalanche warnings during the operational periods, compounding the dangers that personnel had to contend with.
Assisting the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office during the search operations that began on the evening of April 5, were the Clackamas, Deschutes, Benton and Lane County Sheriffs’ Offices, Hood River Crag Rats, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Patrol, Mt. Hood Meadows Public Safety, Oregon Army National Guard, and Oregon Emergency Management.