Mount Hood National Park

Gerren Kirk - Strange disappearances from U.S. National Forests

Gerren Kirk, disappeared December 3rd, 2014, Frog Lake Campground, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon.

Gerren Kirk, Mount Hood disappearance

Gerren Kirk, 31, was an experienced outdoorsman and often took solo trips in the woods. He left home on December 3rd, 2014, to hike in the Mount Hood National Forest, with plans to return December 6th. However, on this occasion, he didn't leave family members with any details. Kirk’s sister Whitney Kirk Altman filed a missing persons report on Sunday, December 7, but the search was delayed until Monday because search and rescue crews couldn't be dispatched until the vehicle was located to establish a starting point.

Kirk grew up in the Milwaukie area and graduated from Portland Public Schools' Vocational Village High School. He lived for a number of years in Arizona, working in admissions for the University of Phoenix. After returning to Milwaukie, he enrolled in Portland Community College, studying business. He had recently transferred his credits and completed his first term of online courses with National University. He planned to complete his bachelor's degree and then go on for a master's.

Kirk was married for several years, but he and his wife Kristin were divorced, shared joint custody of their daughter, five year old Gabriella.

Gerren's gold Pontiac Grand Am was found in the parking lot at Frog Lake Campground off U.S. 26, by a family member on Monday, December 8th, focusing the search on the heavily wooded areas nearby.

Gerren Kirk's gold Pontiac Grand Am was located Monday at the Frog Lake Campground near Mount Hood.

Police also were able to ping his cell phone and locate it east of Frog Lake heading in a SW direction. That route would have brought him from Clackamas County into Wasco County, so jurisdiction for the search switched over to the Wasco County Sheriff's Office.

Gerren Kerk disappearance Mount Hood

An estimated 170 volunteers from across Oregon joined in the search around Frog and Twin Lakes, which lasted for around nine days and was co-ordinated by the Wasco County Sheriff's Office. Sniffer dogs and surveillance aircraft with heat detecting infrared also participated. The weather on the mountain was mostly damp over the period of the search and slightly above freezing, with unusually low snow levels for December.

Mount Hood from Frog Lake

Mount Hood from Frog Lake

Frog Lake Trail Mount Hood National Forest

Frog Lake Trail Mount Hood National Forest

Searchers included Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, Clackamas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Multnomah County Search and Rescue, Klickitat County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Search and Rescue, Wallowa County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Clatsop County Sheriff's Office, Salvation Army, Trauma Intervention Program, businesses in Government Camp, Zigzag, Welches and Sandy, Bud's Towing of Oregon City, Milwaukie Presbyterian Church.

Mount hood national forest Frog Lake

Despite the search efforts, no trace of Gerren has been found. It was strange that his cellphone was pinging to the South West of Frog Lake, in the direction of Clear Lake, but search efforts seem to have focused on the area to the north east, in the area of Twin Lakes, unless the media misreported the location.

To this day, Brian and Annette Kirk, and siblings keep his memory alive at the FB page Inlovingmemoryofgerrenkirk


Robert Perry Bissell - Strange disappearances from the U.S. wilderness

Robert Perry Bissell, disappeared July 10, 2010, Rock Lakes BasiN, Roaring River Wilderness Area, Oregon

Robert perry bissell disappearance

On 7th December 2010, 57 year old, Robert Bissell left his home in Portland, Oregon to go camping near Rock Lakes, to the south-east of Portland.  He filed a wilderness-use permit with the U.S. Forest Service saying he expected to return on July 16th.

Robert Bissell disappearance car at trail head

He was reported missing after his brother went to Bissell's campsite on July 19 and July 24, finding no sign of him. Robert had parked his car and hiked around five miles to set up camp off Trail 512 near Middle Rock Lake. Authorities started a search the following day on July 25th.

Some other campers reported to rangers that they had met Robert in the Roaring River Wilderness Area at the beginning of his trip, about 20 miles southeast of Estacada. His car was found parked at the Shell Rock Lake Trailhead, Trail 700.

rock lakes, Estacada, OR, USA

Searchers believe that James set up camp, then went on a day hike to fish the Rock Lakes Basin as his rod and fishing tackle were gone but the rest of his equipment was left behind including tent, sleeping bag and food. There was plenty of trout to be caught in the lakes in the area.

Bissell left a note spelling out when he was heading into the wilderness area and when he expected to return.

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Sgt. James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Search and Rescue Unit said it was possible that Bissell suffered a serious injury while trekking around the Rock Lakes Basin in the Mount Hood National Forest. Rhodes and his team were confident in finding Robert as the temperatures around his disappearance were cool but not freezing, "It gets chilly at night, but it's not the kind of weather that pushes people into hypothermia." Unfortunately, there was no cell phone coverage in the area.

60 to 70 professional searchers and volunteers searched the zone of interest. Helicopters were used to search the meadows and the shorelines of more than a dozen lakes in the basin including Serene Lake and Shining Lake. Surveillance planes have crisscrossed the area, flying grid patterns. Canine search teams from the Yamhill County and Clark County, Washington combed the ground along with teams from the Air Force Reserve 304th Rescue Squadron and Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue.

Searchers generally worked in teams of six. They followed standard search-and-rescue procedure, moving into new areas, then shouting and blowing whistles. They then waited quietly for a response, which never came.

During their search, teams discovered several items they thought Bissell might have left. But each time, they brought the items to basecamp, his brother, Michael Bissell, said the items didn't belong to Robert. Searchers also located other campers who said they spoke to Robert as he set up his camp.

After eight days, the search was called off. No sign was found of an animal attack, bones or a body. None of Robert's clothing or fishing gear was located.  He had completely vanished, never to be seen again. Seven years on, nothing has been found.