Tuesday, September 11, 2001
It's the kind of thing you hope was not a futile effort.
The search for a missing hiker found no trace of Karoly Orsi, let alone a body, after a five-day concerted effort.
Orsi, 24, disappeared in one of the oddest circumstances one could imagine on the mountain: a Hungarian exchange student, dressed in summer clothes and carrying only a small backpack, walks away from his companions.
When he does not return, a search party -- such an odd phrase -- is formed and comes up empty-handed. But not for lack of trying. The rescue effort went around the clock and through difficult terrain.
Numerous searchers, including agency employees as well as volunteers, came from all around Mount Hood. They ranged all over the mountainside in earnest search. Motivating the searchers was a sincere desire to save a life. They were further guided by an understanding of the awesome and brutal power the mountain holds in any season.
The health and safety of Karoly Orsi remain the hopes of the dedicated searchers, and for all of us. The searchers' best efforts will not be in vain if future hikers learn some lessons from Karoly Orsi's disappearance: use proper preparation and communication, adhere to one's abilities and know the limits of terrain and weather while in the woods.
It is comforting to know that the searchers who strove so long and hard last week to find a missing hiker would do the same for anyone. We can only hope that all who venture forth will harbor a healthy respect, even fear, for the great outdoors.