Camas Trail Runner Found Deceased After Extensive Search & Rescue Operation

Cascade Locks, Ore. – After an extensive Search and Rescue (SAR) effort along the Pacific Crest and Ruckel Creek trails, 33-year-old Nicholas Wells of Camas, WA was located deceased, and his remains recovered.

The search began on the evening of Friday, October 21st, 2022, after his wife called the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office to report that her husband, Nick Wells, had gone trail running on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and not returned. Having started in the morning, Wells was in touch with his wife off and on through the day and reported having lost the trail at some point but found it again. She became worried when her calls and texts went unanswered.

Cell phone location data was obtained through an emergency request with the carrier, and searchers with the Hood River Crag Rats and Pacific Northwest Search & Rescue responded. Multiple teams went up the Pacific Crest Trail and searched through the night but found no sign of Wells. The following morning, Saturday, October 22nd, 2022, fresh search teams went up the trail, bolstered by additional personnel from Portland Mountain Rescue and Clackamas Search and Rescue. The HRCSO airplane responded to the area to perform an air search, and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management was able to organize a Blackhawk helicopter through the Oregon Air National Guard, which joined in the air search as well.  

Due to the terrain, the cell phone tower data was not able to provide a narrow search location, and soon searchers were working both the Pacific Crest and Ruckel Creek trails, a wide search area. New cell phone location information provided late in the evening by the family allowed searchers to locate Wells at about 1:00 AM on Sunday morning at the bottom of a 80-foot cliff, about a mile from the freeway. Unfortunately, he was deceased and the rescue operation was suspended for the night.

On Sunday, October 23rd, 2022, a recovery operation was conducted, and Wells’ remains were brought down the trail and transferred to Anderson’s Funeral Home.

Our hearts go out to the family of Nick Wells, and on their behalf we ask for privacy as they grieve their tragic loss.