This week, the lives of Joel Tranby’s family and community were forever changed after the 21-year-old college student tragically lost his life while hiking in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.
On Monday at 12:20 p.m., Lane County Search and Rescue (SAR) was alerted to an injured climber located near the peak of North Sister, as stated by SAR spokesperson, Speldrich, on Wednesday.
While climbing North Sister Mountain with his girlfriend, Tranby fell between 300 and 500 feet down a rocky ravine, as the Lane County Sheriff’s Office reported. His girlfriend, Fiona Curley, immediately called for help yet could not detect the precise spot where he landed. Although Tranby managed to vocalize initially, he soon grew unresponsive before rescuers reached him.
The area he fell in was described as “extremely dangerous” and impenetrable by foot, putting rescuers in a difficult situation. Initially, medical personnel and drones were deployed, yet they could not find him. This led to a team of volunteers joining forces with Corvallis and Eugene Mountain Rescue, who, through analyzing drone recordings, were eventually able to locate Tranby’s body from a helicopter on Wednesday.
Hailing from Bend, Oregon, Tranby was committed to his community and passionate about the outdoors. He dedicated a lot of time to helping out his former high school’s Nordic Ski Team. He would have graduated this December. His family has created a GoFundMe with the hopes of establishing a scholarship in his memory.
The passing of Joel Tranby is a solemn warning to us all. We must be aware of potential risks while exploring the great outdoors and take precautions to ensure our safety. Although Tranby’s death is a devastating loss for his family, friends, and community, his legacy will live on through the scholarship and the lives he touched throughout his life.