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 recovery, an operation was scheduled for early Saturday.
Around 10:30 am 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 was 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. This has been an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching five days for them. We are extremely thankful to all of the agencies and organizations that helped search for Ryan and ultimately recover him for his family.”
– Hood River County Sheriff Matt English
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office received information about the missing snowboarder on April 5, 2022, around 9:30 pm. The missing subject, identified as Ryan Mather, 30 years old, of Aloha, was reported overdue by his girlfriend. Mather had been snowboarding at Mt. Hood Meadows during the day and had failed to return to his residence.
Mather’s vehicle was located at Mt. Hood Meadows, prompting personnel from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River Crag Rats, and Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Patrol to search for Mather immediately. Overnight operations to locate Mather was not successful.
Searchers worked throughout the day Wednesday to locate Mathers on Mt. Hood, but unfortunately, they did not find him. Their efforts were focused on the vast terrain accessed from the Shooting Star chair lift at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Mr. Mather’s last known location. In addition to ground resources, air asset’s from the Oregon Army National Guard, and drones operated by Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue were utilized to supplement efforts. More than forty ground searchers in fourteen teams covered a significant area throughout the day. Ground crews had to contend with increasing avalanche dangers in much of the search area as temperatures rose in the afternoon.
Searchers faced various 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.