Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood; several others rescued
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The climber who was rescued Tuesday afternoon on Mount Hood and transported to a Portland, Oregon, hospital has died, Clackamas County Sheriff’s spokesman Brian Jensen told ABC News.
And later on Tuesday night, the Clackamas Sheriff’s Office announced that another group of climbers had made it safely down the mountain.
“As climbers arrive at Timberline and debrief, we now have a more complete picture of the situation and the number of individuals involved,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet. “All told, seven climbers in two groups have been taken down or off the mountain.”
The last climber taken off the mountain was a woman who needed to be sledded off because she could not move, officials said. Her condition is unclear.
The climber died after falling between 700 to 1,000 feet into the Hogsback area of the mountain, the office said. The climber “will be identified pending confirmation of name/age, family notifications.”
Sometime during the frantic day high up on Oregon’s Mount Hood, a stranded climber used a cellphone to inform authorities and rescuers heading to the peak that the conditions had turned nasty — with falling rocks coming down on the climbers in the group like “a bowling alley.”
Air Force Major Chris Bernard, assigned to the 304th Rescue Squadron of the Air National Guard Base in Portland, Oregon, said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the caller was a climber who “went up the mountain” and reached a popular climbing route known as Hogsback.
At one point, authorities worried that there could be as many as 15 climbers stuck on Mount Hood. Jensen said he was concerned the conditions could diminish quickly.
“There is falling rocks and ice, which is normal when you have freezing at night, and it gets so warm during the day that it creates a very hazardous and treacherous situation on the mountain. That’s what we have up today,” Jensen said.
Jensen assured that rescuers have “been in communication with this group; they are safe.”
Live footage captured by ABC affiliate KATU-TV shows multiple climbers descending from the icy peak using a sharp ax tool.
Jensen said the first distress call was logged at 10:30 a.m. about a fallen climber.
“At the time, there were two eyewitnesses to the fall; however, there was nobody with the fallen climber at the time,” he said.
Authorities confirmed to ABC News that the Oregon National Army Guard dispatched a Blackhawk helicopter to support the search and rescue effort on the icy surface.
Oregon Emergency Management official Cory Grogan confirmed to ABC News that “there was an effort to resuscitate a person that they were attempting to rescue.”
It is unclear whether the person who was being given CPR by multiple people and was airlifted off the peak was the man who passed away.
Grogan reinforced the dangers that hikers, from beginners to masters, face on Mount Hood.
“Hikers go up there and they don’t realize how dangerous this mountain can be,” he said. “To hike this mountain — it’s no joke.”
Jensen acknowledged that many novices should probably think twice before attempting to summit Mount Hood.
“We leave that up to the climbers. This is a public mountain, and we want everyone to enjoy it,” he said. “We just hope that they use common sense and realize that this isn’t a backyard hill. This is a mountain that is deadly.”
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