1 climber dead in Mount Hood fall, six others rescued

Rescue on Mt Hood Feb 13, 2018 - KATU image

Newest story: Climber dies after falling on Mount Hood: 'He started cartwheeling'


GOVERNMENT CAMP -- A climber died after falling from a ridge on Oregon's tallest peak Tuesday, and at least one other was injured, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Crews were able to rescue six others who were stranded on the steep slopes of Mount Hood.

Dozens of rescuers were called into action to rescue a total of seven climbers just before 10:30 a.m. The climbers were stranded in the Hogsback area of the mountain.

Clackamas County Sgt. Brian Jensen said two groups made up the seven climbers.

A snowcat brought three climbers to Timberline Lodge. They were uninjured. Rescuers also brought two men down, one of whom had received cuts and bruises. The other man was uninjured, but both men were tired and upset.

A woman was with those two men. Jensen said she was unable to physically move. Rescuers had to put her on a sled and move her down the mountain at about 600 feet at a time. Rescuers got her down the mountain, but her condition wasn't immediately clear.

The climber who died fell several hundred to 1,000 feet and was helped by fellow climbers in his group who administered CPR while they waited for rescue.

RELATED: Crews face 'treacherous conditions' on Mt. Hood to rescue remaining climbers

The climber was air-lifted in an Oregon National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Hospital around 1:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

"It's treacherous. There's a lot of fallen rock and ice, which is normal when you have freezing overnight and it gets so warm during the day," said Jensen.

The sun has been out this week and the temperature was around freezing at the spot where the climber fell, Russell Gubele of Mountain Wave Search and Rescue said.

"This is the kind of weather conditions and the time of year where you often get falling ice, falling rocks and problems," Gubele said. "It sounds like the conditions up there are very unsafe right now."

Overnight temperatures are below freezing, however, warm daytime conditions cause snow and ice to melt, leading to falling debris.

“The conditions are great for climbing early in the early morning,” said Air Force Major Chris Bernard with the 304th Rescue Squadron. “They typically plan their climbs and get off the mountain before it becomes treacherous.”

READ MORE: Crews face 'treacherous conditions' on Mt. Hood to rescue remaining climbers

KATU News talked with Wyatt Peck, a climber who was on the mountain at the same time as the injured groups. He said that there have been poor climbing conditions throughout the season.

"You gotta know when to turn back, no matter what climbing experience you have," Peck said.

The Naval Station Whidbey Island is sending a helicopter to assist in the rescue, by guiding climbers. There are approximately 40 rescuers on the scene from several agencies, including Portland Mountain Rescue, Mountain Wave, a 14-person Air Force Squad, AMR, and Crag Rats SAR.

Officials said they plan to release the name of the deceased climber once family members have been notified of their death.


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