How Charity Stevens Was Found on Mount Shasta

How Charity Stevens Was Found on Mount Shasta

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 41.39122°N / 122.17004°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 28, 2017
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

How Charity Stevens Was Found on Mount Shasta

"No good deeds go unpunished."

My Reason for Writing This Report

I did not include the content of this part in my previous report because it was irrelevant and the only reason I wrote this report now, or rather continuity of the previous part titled "Why I Rescued a Woman on a Secretive Mountain of Mt Shasta" published on 10th of August, 2017, was the inaccurate statement in the 2017 Annual Shasta Rangers Report based on which  I was publicly accused of the "disingenuous" claim I found Charity Stevens, instead a woman named "Elaine", a member of the Seattle's SAR. It's important to stress that before writing this part, I posted my inquiry in the Comments section of the Rangers Report published on Facebook[2] "to review and remove or correct inaccurate phrases."[4] Sadly my inquiry was removed the next day without any explanation.

Although, this new part is mainly a continuity of my previously published report, there are some overlaps for smooth transition. To gain the brighter picture of the whole event, its timeline and why I wrote this addition now, I would recommend to read first my previous report[1] and the Shasta Rangers Report.[2]

- Why I Rescued a Woman on a Secretive Mountain of Mt Shasta[1] - Part of the annual Ranges Report: "July 26, 2017 - Clear Creek Route, lost climber, female, 36 years old:"[2]


Charity Stevens, a lost hiker on Mt Shasta Clear Creek Route (USA, CA), attempted the summit of over 14,000 foot mountain to pray for "World Peace" and was reported missing the same night. Around 10pm she herself made a 911 phone call asking for help and, according to the Rangers Report, was advised to stay put in place at elevation of around 13,000 ft till the next day the Shasta Rangers would come up to meet her and assist with the descend.[2 pr2]

On the same night Marek Damm, a mountaineer from San Francisco Bay Area, who frequently climb Mt Shasta, was coming down back from the summit and while approaching the tree line, a friend of Charity Stevens and her companion hiker, who for safety concern decided not to proceed with the summit, desperately asked Marek for help in finding her friend. A few hours later, Marek Damm notified 911 about the missing woman and agreed to the dispatcher helping Rangers with the search.[1.2 pr5]

Day Three After Charity Stevens Left Her Tent - July 28, 2017

Charity told me that morning she noticed a tent on the rocks and realized this was her last chance to be found after spending two cold nights, hardly eating and "drinking snow", without being noticed even though she saw and waved to helicopters. She told me she decided to walk to the rocks with the tent and stay there hoping that person would return soon. "She told, that after spending many hours sitting on rocks helplessly but still with hope and praying to be found, right before the sun went down again, just when she started shivering and knowing it was not a good sign, she saw someone amazingly walking up the rocks, right at her, and asked him, 'Are you with Search And Rescue?'"[3] "No, but I'm here to find you," I responded.[1.3 pr8]

She was alone with no one around, no one helping, assisting or talking to her. I did not see anyone around. "She was exhausted, cold, and shivering. She was thirsty and hungry. First I gave her an energy drink [more details]... for a quick recovery. Then I gave her all my jackets... [more details] She was so weak and fragile I had to gently help her to put them on. I made her a sandwich. [more details]... "[1.3 pr9]

While taking care of Charity I asked her why she did not get inside the tent to stay warm. She responded because she "wanted to be in space of respectfulness." She also said she was not really lost and did not need to be rescued; all she needed was someone experienced to assist her walk down because she could not find the right way on her own; she did not know which direction to go because all places below with trees looked similar. I explained that for two days the Search and Rescue team tried to locate her and I had to call 911 to notify authorities I found her. She did not want me to call. With concern, she told me she did not know such a huge rescue was initiated for her and did not want to fly and pay for the helicopter. I responded although I was on my personal search mission I informed Sheriff to notify 911 after finding her.

"Then I set down on the rock next to her to transfer my body's heat warming her up and called 911. She [insisted she] did not want to be lifted off the mountain by a helicopter; she wanted to walk down with me. I explained this was not up to her anymore and had to call 911 [more details]..." I later recommended her not to oppose to the helicopter's crew if they come to pick her up.[1.3 pr9]

"'911 what's your emergency?'. 'My name is Marek Damm. I found Charity...', I reported. [more details]..." After making the successful 911 phone call at 7:06pm I "continued taking care of Charity. I gave her a protein bar and made her Hot Chocolate. [more details]..."[1.3 pr10]

Then Elaine arrived from the summit attempt. Seeing a woman sitting near her tent and me taking care of her with disbelieve asked Charity if she was this Charity the lost hiker everyone was looking for. Charity confirmed. Surprised seeing a hiker, not a rescuer, I said to Elaine "I did not recall any civilian car at the TH"[1.3 pr7] and she responded she was a member of the Seattle SAR but just on vacations.[1.4 pr4] I then asked Elaine if she had Gore-Tex paints and could lend them to Charity because mine were too big for Charity to walk in. Elaine  gave Charity her paints without hesitation. Seeing my concerns the helicopter was not appearing anywhere in the sky, Elaine  told me she had the SPOT device and if I wanted her to use it. I responded it was up to her but I already described to 911 our location precisely and they should have no problem finding us.

Charity desperately wanted to walk down. My phone was off and I had no more communication with 911 to confirm if the helicopter was already on its way or to be sent at all. At that point I was not even sure if and when the helicopter could arrive and to keep Charity warm we started slowly walking down before the complete nightfall, or at least to get to the safer terrain if helicopter arrives. Elaine was finishing packing her tent and was supposed catch up with us shortly.

Just after a few steps, "30-40 minutes later [after I found Charity,] two military helicopters appeared in the sky and started circling around in various directions. [more details]..."[1.3 pr11]

"All dust and tiny rocks picked up by the air force from the ground vigorously danced around us aiming at our vulnerable faces and eyes and causing pain. [more details]..."[1.3 pr12]

"After a while of the turbulence forces and the deafening noise produced by the helicopter I finally noticed a soldier approaching us. He got next to us, took Charity day-pack from me and asked her to go with him. Charity responded she did not want to. [more details]... I told him Charity had my all clothes but it seemed like he was only concerned about her. He grabbed her arm and together walked away toward the helicopter and left the mountain."[1.3 pr13]

With Charity on board, the helicopter took off. "I felt like this was more a kidnapping approach than a rescue attempt. [more details]..."[1.3 pr14]

The Story Continuous (with the information not included in the previous report)

Then I waited for Elaine till she finished packing her gear and we walked down together all the way to the forest. As we walked, Elaine told me her friends, members of the SAR in Seattle, have friends among the local SAR members. She told me she wanted them to secure and retrieve her Gore-Tex paints. She made many phone calls on the way down and later confirmed someone picked up her paints for her. She also asked me why I was doing this, putting so much effort in finding Charity, a person I did not even know. I was a bit surprised to hear such a question from the SAR's member but shortly responded, "Aren't we humans?"

Shortly after entering the forest, we stopped at the "red tape" (the tape I used to mark the location of women's tent on the night I reported Charity missing) and I went off the trail to see if the women's tent was still there hiding in between trees. The tent with sleeping pats, sleeping bags and one headlamp was still there. I shouted to Elaine I wanted to pack the items and bring them down.[1.4 pr2] Elaine responded she did not want to wait and left.

Looking like a Christmas tree, dressed with multiple bags attached around to my body, while waking exhausted for over an hour via a dark forest at night, I finally arrived at the Trailhead (this was my third time going up and down the mountain in the last few days). Elaine  was sitting in her car. I did not expect that. She looked at me and said, "I'm a human too." I thanked her for that. I then approached my car and noticed a flat tire. I raised my hands and my face up to the dark sky in between big trees surrounding and guarding the Trailhead's parking lot and with sorrow loudly asked, "And that's how you repay me?" How wrong I was at that time. I did not know it was just a taste how I was going to be repaid in the near future, or as I call it in the mountains, it was a warning sign before something worse was going to happen if ignored. But why I was supposed to take it as a warning sign? I did not do anything wrong, and everyone was practically already save.

I asked Elaine  if she could stay till I fix the tire because I had no reception and no proper tools to do it on such an unstable dusty grand safely. (A year before on the way to the North Gate Trailhead, while changing flat tire, I had very threatening experience and did not want to be alone again if something bad happened.) She stayed with me patiently till I fixed the tire and was completely save. And then, using her GPS, slowly, as I asked her, led the way through and out of the dark forest. When we arrived to the save area (paved highway and with my cell-phone reception), we said good bye to each other and split.

Two Days Later - July 30, 2017

In the forest at the base of Mt Shasta, just above the town, I met a woman, a National Forest Ranger. She informed me the whole area of the National Forest below the Sand Flat place was closed to camping. Because we met before (many Shasta rangers knew me by name), I told her I found Charity Stevens, the whole story. I stressed how I felt disappointed and insulted by Shasta Rangers, especially Nick Meyers and the Sheriff, for not even making a simple phone call expressing their gratitude for my efforts in my personal search and actually finding Charity Stevens. I told her they both had my full name and phone number (as well as other contact information). I also told her that for the same reasons had no intention to go to the Ranger Station till they contact me. Often when in town, I visited Ranger Station to give them feedback about the routes or just to say Hello.


After two summit attempts with a total elevation gained of over 15,000 feet in the last few days, still not completely recovered, around 10am on the morning of July 28, right after Heather told me Charity still was not found, I immediately decided to look for Charity on my own. I understood that chances of her staying alive after two cold nights were dramatically diminishing. I also understood that the official Search and Rescue team might not be able to find her at all. I dedicated and sacrificed for this search practically two sleepless nights (one when I helped Heather and one after the evening I found Charity) and a whole day of actual preparation and search for Charity (and intended to stay on the mountain as long as necessary to locate her as I told the Sheriff and stressed again to the rescuers I met on the way up). This whole time was very stressful and emotional for me, including the day I spent by the Siskiyou Lake waiting for the phone call from the Ranger Nick Meyers about locating Charity. At that time I thought he did not call me, simply, because he did not have to inform me about anything.

There will always be people who need help in the mountains but there will not always be people who would personally want to help them (that's very rare). This disheartening and very discouraging experience of the final outcome of my personal search for Charity Stevens on Mt Shasta will not stop me from helping others in needs in the mountains, simply, because that attitude is imprinted in my DNA, or as Charity Stevens with a smile concluded, "...because he happened to be a Mountaineer." 

A Message to Inexperienced Hikers

Beside other factors, let's this story be a warning and even a lesson for inexperienced in mountaineering persons that regardless of their intentions, a seemingly simple and none technical attempt of a mountain may easily turn into a live treating straggle; the electronics may fail when needed most; the Search and Rescue efforts, regardless of number of rescuers and helicopters, may also fail when needed most. Do not take anything for granted. Do extensive research. Have proper gear. Or even better, go with an experienced friend or professional guides. Hiking or climbing alone, especially in solitude, often proofs to be very dangerous, even resulting in fatalities! 

Final Words

While many were already celebrating the victory, there was one man everyone forgot about, still on the cold mountain, left without his clothes at nightfall, trying to make at dark down to his car safely.

I'm raising my hands and my face up the sky again and with sorrow loudly ask, "And that's how you repay me?"

After reading and analyzing the Rangers Report “I tried to find any rational explanation what just happened but could not. Therefore, later I assumed they were so embarrassed of such a massive but still ineffective Search & Rescue implementation they just wanted to hide the truth from the public that in the end a one-person-team, a mountaineer, whose everyone disbelieved or disregarded, found Charity Stevens, a lost hiker on Mt Shasta's Clear Creek, in just a few hours.”[1.3 pr14]

"Not disclosing facts is one thing but changing facts publicly is another thing."[3]

8th of March, 2018

Copyright © 2018 Marek Rudolf Damm

Credits of My Previous Similar Personal Search[5]

(which was why I took the initiative to personally search for Charity Stevens) post:  #471134 - 06/25/05 04:58 PM by Tony_Cruz

Climber missing: John Zazzara, Mt McLoughli

Press Release from: Klamath Co. Sheriff's Office MISSING CLIMBER REPORTEDLY FOUND ON MCLOUGHLIN June 24th, 2005 9:44 PM

Shortly after 5:00 P.M. Friday evening, Klamath County 9-1-1 received a cellular telephone call from a man near the summit of Mt. McLoughlin. The man, Marek Damm, reported that he had located the body of John V. Zazzara, 54, who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Damm, who is from the Bay, area is a serious climber who knew the victim and has been camped near the summit searching for Zazzara since Wednesday night.

Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger requested a helicopter to be dispatched to the mountain in an attempt to confirm the report. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters had a helicopter airborne out of the Rogue Valley within minutes of the request.

Tonight, the helicopter crew was able to find and mark the map coordinates of the location of the victim as described by Damm. The crew was still unable to spot the victim.

Klamath County Sheriff's Search and Rescue along with the Lane County Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue team had a training exercise planned for first thing Saturday morning. At this point, the mission will transition from a training one to a recovery effort after Damm's report is confirmed.

Searchers will attempt to extract the victim by land. If the extraction is determined to be physically impractical or excessively dangerous, a request for the Oregon Army Guard Blackhawk helicopter based in Salem will be made at that time.

Damm's initial report is that it appears that Zazzara sustained major injuries when he fell on the south slope of the mountain and slid for some distance down a snow and ice field.

It is believed that the victim is in between some rocks and has likely been covered with snow during the past search efforts.


Contact Info: Sheriff Tim Evinger Mobile 541-891-9734

News Watch 12 abc Cached: August 09, 2005

Zazzara's body found on Mt. McLoughlin

BY KATHERINE COOK MT. MCLOUGHLIN, Ore. -- The search for 54-year-old climber John Zazzara is over. After a two-week, multi-agency effort to find the lost Beaverton man on Mt. McLoughlin, Zazzara's best friend and climbing partner Marek Damm arrived from San Francisco to launch a search of his own. "I packed my stuff immediately because I felt he needed me," said Damm. "He was my friend and my best climbing partner, and I'm sure he would do the same for me." On his second night, Damm reached the summit and began his decent into the icy terrain. Damm planned his route according to where he thought his friend would have gone -- slightly off the trail and into more challenging terrain. Damm's intuition paid off.   "I was hitting the perfect direction and suddenly I saw John on the rock," recalls Damm. "And then of course when I saw what happened, I started screaming."   Damm called 911. Hours later, a helicopter flew overhead but couldn't spot the two men. In an unsafe area, Damm was forced to leave the mountain before nightfall without his friend, but with the knowledge of his fate. Damm says it appears Zazzara slipped on the ice, tried to stop himself, lost control and hit his head on a rock. Saturday afternoon, a Blackhawk helicopter operated by the Oregon Army National Guard air-lifted Zazzara off the mountain and flew him to Klamath Falls. After it is examined, Zazzara's body will be turned over to his family on Monday. post: (f_id=5t_id=29327&page=2)  2005-06-26 21:36:29 by SARPAL

General - Missing hiker found....

To John's family, we of the Klamath County Sheriff's Search & Rescue Team, as well as, the members of Jackson County's Team & the Lane County High Angle Team, all wish to pass on our feelings of saddness to you all. The worst part of being on a Search & Rescue Team is having to go from rescue mode to recovery mode. We want more than any other person to have every call out a short and successful one. But we really don't want to quit our search until all reasonable likely events are explored in depth. In John's case, after 2 full days with over 40 searchers working all kinds of leads, we took a break. When we started again it was to re-check several grey areas of concern. On Wednesday, Marek Damm arrived on the scene. We answered many, many questions from this very experienced climber, & on that Wednesday afternoon, Marek started his own personal search for John. Marek found John mid-afternoon on the south-west slope of Mt. McLoughlin, at the end of a snow field. With Marek's directions, a Team from Klamath County with assistance from Lane County reached John and was able to send John home to all of you, his family. You are very fortunate to have a fellow climber like Marek Damm who used his expertise (climbing) to seek out John. Please know the our whole volunteer organization was proud in doing our part in getting John home.


[1] Why I Rescued a Woman on a Secretive Mountain of Mt Shasta [1.1] 25 of July, 2017 - Clear Creek Trailed, Mt Shasta, California [1.2] 26 of July, 2017 - Clear Creek Route [1.3] 27 of July, 2017 [1.3] 28 of July, 2017 [1.4] *** [2] The Annual Shasta Rangers Report for 2017 @ Facebook [2.1] July 26, 2017 - Clear Creek Route, lost climber, female, 36 years: [3] Post in Mountaineering Connections @ Facebook [4] Open Inquiry "To Mount Shasta Avalanche Center & Home of the Climbing Rangers" [5] The Search for John Zazzara, Mountaineer Lost on Mt. McLoughlin &



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clmbr - Mar 10, 2018 7:05 pm - Hasn't voted


My previous report Why I Rescued a Woman, Charity Stevens, on the Sacred Mountain of Mt Shasta was published on August 27, 2017 (not August 10).


clmbr - May 8, 2018 2:56 pm - Hasn't voted

A Letter to Headquarters, Terri Simon-Jackson, Acting Forest Supervisor, USDA Shasta-Trinity National Forest


clmbr - Jun 4, 2018 1:50 pm - Hasn't voted


A few comments about the dishonestly fabricated Ranger Report reinforced by the video: Searching for and Revealing the Truth, Mt Shasta

Or just jump to the video: Revealing the Truth What Happened on Mt Shasta

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