Searchers locate missing Camas man’s body at bottom of 80-foot cliff in Gorge

Nick Wells, 33, was reported missing Friday evening after failing to return home from a run on the Pacific Crest Trail near Cascade Locks

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A Camas man who went missing on Friday, Oct. 22, after going for a run on the Pacific Crest Trail on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, has been found dead.

According to the Hood River County (Oregon) Sheriff’s Office, search-and-rescue workers discovered the body of Nicholas Wells, 33, at the bottom of an 80-foot cliff around 1 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 23.

Wells’ wife reported her husband missing on Friday evening, after he stopped responding to her calls and texts. Wells reportedly went for his run on the PCT near Cascade Locks, Oregon, on Friday morning and was in contact with his wife throughout the day — telling her at one point that he had lost the trail, but had then found it again, according to a news release from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.

Search teams, including the Hood River Crag Rats and Pacific Northwest Search & Rescue, searched along the Pacific Crest Trail and Ruckel Creek Trail throughout the night on Friday, using cell phone data obtained from Wells’ phone carrier, but could not locate the missing man.

“Fresh search teams … bolstered by additional personnel from Portland Mountain Rescue and Clackamas Search and Rescue,” a Blackhawk helicopter provided by the Oregon Air National Guard and a Hood River County Sheriff’s Office aircraft, continued to search for Wells on Saturday morning, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release.

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,” the sheriff’s office reported.

Using new cell phone location information provided by Wells’ family late Saturday evening, the search-and-rescue workers were able to find Wells’ body at the bottom of a cliff about one mile from Interstate 84 at 1 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 23. 

On Sunday, workers recovered Wells’ body and brought his remains to a nearby funeral home.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Nick Wells,”  the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office stated Monday in a news release, “and on their behalf we ask for privacy as they grieve their tragic loss.”