Experienced hiker reported missing on Mount Hood

PORTLAND, Ore. — Rescue crews searched Mount Hood on Friday for a university student who planned to hike or climb the mountain last weekend and has been missing for days.

Mary Owen, 23, of Newberg has not been in contact with friends or relatives since Sunday, when she emailed a friend to say she was going for a hike and planned to return to Newberg — 70 miles west of Mount Hood — late Sunday or Monday.

When Owen, who is on spring break from George Fox University, did not return by Thursday, one of her roommates called Bruce Owen of McMinnville to ask if he had heard from his daughter. Owen contacted police.

Mary Owen’s SUV was found late Thursday in the parking lot at Timberline Lodge, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said it appeared to have been there for some time, and Owen’s backpack was inside. Deputies think she went off hiking by herself and may be short of supplies.

Bruce Owen, however, said the presence of a backpack indicates she might have followed through on a planned climb, which would require different gear than a backpack.

When he spoke with his daughter last Friday, she told him she was going to climb the mountain on Saturday with a group that included a man she had met on a different mountain last year. Owen said he doesn’t know the name of the man or anyone else in the group, and urged anyone who had planned to climb with his daughter to call police.

There have been no reports of any other missing people on the mountain.

“We want to know if they went together; did the group ever get together,” he said. “Or did they cancel the whole thing and she just decided to do something on her own, which is totally something that she would do.”

Owen said his daughter has never done any technical climbing, but is an experienced backpacker who previously hiked the length of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

Mary Owen is a senior and is planning a career in bible translation, her father said.

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