Mary Owen details week-long survival on Mount Hood

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW reporter

KING5.com

Posted on March 31, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 31 at 5:56 PM

PORTLAND -- After surviving for six nights, injured and alone on Mount Hood, Mary Owen is recovering with frostbitten toes and an injured leg in a hospital bed.

“I just got it into my head that I wanted to go alone, which was not a good idea,” Owen said in a bedside interview with KGW Sunday. 

While she admits to being headstrong, she was well-prepared when she left Timberline Lodge hoping to summit Mount Hood last Sunday. 

“Apparently my climbers registration got lost or something, so they never even knew I was on the mountain, so I spent Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday wondering why no one was looking for me," she said.

White-out conditions forced her to abort her summit attempt on Sunday.  She got lost going down and was funneled into a canyon where she made a snow shelter.  Monday morning, she tried climbing out.

“My ice ax slipped and I fell through the trees and rocks back down onto the snow,” she said. 

Her leg and ankle were injured during the 40-foot fall.  She decided to hunker down and wait to be rescued.

“Usually when you know people are looking and praying for you, you can feel it, but there was nothing, nobody looking, nobody praying and that was really hard,” she said as she detailed how she survived on melted snow and special supplies. “I ate Nutri-Grain bars and crackers and chia seeds and ramen, and my grandpa gave me the wonderful chia seeds, which are a protein and stretch your food out.” 

Raw interview: Mary Owen shares her story: part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Owen even managed to build a fire using Nutri-Grain wrappers as fire starters.  She never lost hope, but couldn’t understand why no one appeared to be searching for her. 

After her fifth night, she sensed things were about to get much better.

“I woke up with this sense of peace from thousands of people praying for m. It was really, really powerful,” said an emotional Owen.

On Friday, she spotted an airplane and then dreamed a helicopter would rescue her.  When she woke up Saturday morning, that’s exactly what happened. 

“The wilderness is still beautiful and it’s Gods territory, so I’ll definitely be out there again soon,” she said.

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