JCSO: Snowboarder found in fair condition

Search and rescue crews were relieved Tuesday night.

After two days of searching, missing snowboarder 27-year-old Eli Kepsel was found around 10:30 Tuesday morning.

“This is about the best outcome we could hope for,” said Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Julie Denney.

He was walking near forest-service road 2060 in the Ashland watershed. A search team from Klamath County, one of the five counties helping search, spotted him walking and talking.

“The was showing some mild signs of hypothermia but for the most part he seemed to be doing really well,” Denney said.

Kepsel had been missing since Sunday when he went to snowboard on Mt. Ashland alone, telling rescuers when he decided to take another run, he got lost and couldn’t get back up the hill.

He was forced to brave elements for roughly 36 hours.

“It’s pretty crazy pretty extreme,” said Mt. Ashland visitor Alain Otero, “I’m gonna be staying close to the structures, not going venture off pretty far.”

Otero just moved to Ashland about six months ago, he was on Mt. Ashland sledding with his kids Tuesday. He was shocked to find out Kepsel survived the frigid overnight temperatures.

“Two days is a long time out here in the snow,” he said.

Search and rescue agrees and is just relieved kepsel was found safe, and hoping next time it’ll be just as lucky.

Sheriff’s officials say a big part in Kepsel’s survival was finding shelter under a tree canopy each night. After being rescued, Kepsel was taken to Rogue Regional Medical Center where he is was in fair condition and expected to stay overnight Tuesday.

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