Shelton, WA - A 31 year old Olympia man was rescued from a hike gone bad early this morning from the area of the Mount Washington Trail, located about 25 miles northwest of Shelton. The man identified as 31 year old, Stuart L. Stoker, Olympia, inadvertently left the established trail at about the 5000 foot level and became disoriented. As Stoker tried to find his way back to the trail he found himself in a predicament where he could not get out safely. As a prepared and experienced hiker, Stoker called the Mason County Sheriff’s Office using his cell phone requesting assistance at about 12:30 PM.
Mason County Deputies in cooperation with Olympic Mountain Rescue immediately organized a rescue operation. Within two hours, ten ground personnel from Olympic Mountain Rescue were on the mountain attempting to find their way to Stoker. Mountain Rescue personnel could not reach Stoker prior to darkness. Weather conditions on the mountain were very cold and clear. During the night rescuers decided to call for a helicopter from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The helicopter crew was able to lift Mr. Stoker to safety at about 2:45 AM this morning. Stoker was not injured, but was cold from the ordeal. Deputies said temperatures on the mountain dipped to about 10 degrees during the night.
According to Deputies at the scene, disaster was averted, because Mr. Stoker started his hike prepared with proper clothing, food, and communication equipment. He was able to remain reasonably warm until rescuers could get to him.