(PHOTO CREDIT – Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives)
SISTERS — A longtime summer worker at a Christian camp near here died several weeks ago in a mountain climbing accident, and staff of the camp are grieving the loss of their beloved friend.
The body of Brian Robak, 28, was found by rescuers with the Oregon Army National Guard during an air search Saturday afternoon, July 2.
According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, it appeared that Robak had fallen a significant distance from the top of 7,795-foot Mount Washington during a solo hike of the peak two days earlier.
As reported by The Oregonian, the sheriff’s office was notified at 3:32 a.m. Friday, July 1, that Robak hadn’t returned to Big Lake Youth Camp near Sisters. Robak had left his vehicle at the camp, and started his hike by himself about noon on Thursday, June 30. He had reached the summit by 4:30 p.m., sending photos to some of his family and friends.
Staff members from the camp attempted to find Robak by hiking up part of the trail, but were unable to do so.
Big Lake Youth Camp is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. According to Adventist Review, 25 search-and-rescue volunteers from the Deschutes sheriff’s office joined forces with Big Lake staff, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Corvallis Mountain Rescue and the Oregon Army National Guard to search for Robak.
The search lasted all day Friday and —after a nighttime break —resumed early Saturday, and included helicopters as well as efforts to obtain information from Robak’s cell phone.
Robak had climbed Mount Washington before. He also had posted previously a photo of himself on Facebook climbing the nearby South Sister mountain peak.
An aspring actor, Robak had worked at Big Lake for the previous eight summers and had made several promotional videos for the camp. He was wrapping up a two-week contract job assisting the camp with drama programs.
Staff described him as a much-loved member of the camp family and they posted their remembrances on the camp’s Facebook page.
Robak graduated from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas with a film degree in 2010 and appeared as an extra in several movies, including Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Jason Bourne. He most recently worked as an assistant at Lola Pictures, a Las-Vegas-based film production company.
According to Adventist Review, Robak was well known to tens of thousands of Adventists because in 2014 he played King Nebuchadnezzar in a play at the end of the 2014 international Camporee in Wisconsin for the Adventist youth program Pathfinders.