Pamplin Media Group – CENTRAL OREGON HISTORY: Crater Creek’s Lost Trapper


A trapper met a tragic end in 1925 after spending the winter on the snow-covered eastern slopes of the Cascades

Fur trapping remained a popular business in central Oregon through the first half of the 20th century. The brave trappers spent the winter in the snowy regions of the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. A trapper met a tragic end in 1925.

Charles George left the Anderson factory on Tumalo Creek on Friday, January 30, 1925. His bag was loaded with supplies and provisions. He climbed steadily upwards and made his way to the first of a series of trap cabins, which included the ranger cabin at Upper Tumalo Meadow, another small shelter known as the “Slide” cabin, a Crater Creek, one at Sparks Lake, and one at Elk Lake, which contained most of its provisions. He was a 35-year-old single man. The previous year he had worked in the territory he was then going to.

Five weeks later, friends were concerned for his safety as he had not been heard from. A search party tried to follow his path and discovered that he had reached the “Slide” hut where he had left some flour, but no trace beyond that was found… We believed that he must have died because it was an unusually deep snowfall. this winter. Attention began to focus on the cabin at Crater Creek near Broken Top. Local reporters, Phil Brogan and Robert Sawyer of the Bend Bulletin, hiked to the cabin site in June 1925. The two searchers had to dig through snowdrifts up to 30 feet deep to reach the cabin door. Pinned to the door was a note in pencil on some packing paper, which hospitably read: “‘Make yourself at home, but leave everything as good as you find it.’ Chas George.

Inside the cabin was a cache of food, which was not disturbed. The two men deduced that a winter storm had arrived at the missing trapper between the “Slide” cabin and the Crater Creek cabin. Nothing could be done until the snow melted. Later that summer, another search party found no trace of the young trapper. A few years later, human remains were found under a tall alpine fir tree a hundred yards east of the Crater Creek cabin. It was generally believed that the remains were those of Charles George and that his remains had been sifted through the tree. It is believed that he may have crawled into the upper tree for shelter when the snow was deep and he died of exposure.

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