Climber dies in 1,000-foot fall on Mount Hood - KPTV - FOX 12

Climber's body recovered on Mount Hood after 1,000-foot fall

Posted: Updated: June 14, 2012 11:52 AM
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Mount Hood climber who fell and slid 1,000 feet into a gully west of Hogsback Ridge has been identified as Mark Cartier, 56, of Portland.

Witnesses called 911 at about 5:15 a.m. after seeing Cartier fall at the 10,000-foot level. Cartier was on a solo expedition on the mountain, but it was a mountain he had climbed hundreds of times.

Search and rescue crews headed up the mountain, and a group of six reached the climber mid-morning. Authorities said there was a large debris field surrounding Cartier's body.

It took a little more than one hour to bring down Cartier's body. It was a difficult task for some on the mountain rescue team who knew Cartier.

"He was very experienced actually and it just goes to show that, you've got to be really careful climbing," said Erik Broms, a search and rescue team member. "Especially in conditions that are pretty solid."

Rachel Heiken and Nick Foster, both of Portland, climbed the mountain Thursday. They came upon some climbers who witnessed the fall and described to them what happened.

"He was apparently out of control, couldn't stop himself or self-arrest and they were really spooked," Heiken said.

"His stuff was everywhere, like he went end-over-end," Foster said.

Dozens of climbers were on Mount Hood on Thursday morning, and the fall happened at the 10,000-foot level on a popular route to the summit of the mountain.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Adam Phillips read a statement from Cartier's wife which said, "Mark lost his life descending from his favorite mountain… He dedicated his life to being a great father, husband, friend, mentor and guide. He excelled at pursuing the enjoyment of the adventures he sought out and willingly chose. Mark climbed the mountain as he has done hundreds of times before. The only thing different this time was that he didn't call me saying he had made it down."

"Any time you fall from that kind of distance, regardless of what you're falling in, the risk of injury is very high," said Phillips. "Falls on (Mount Hood) are common. Injuries related to falls are one of the risks you take when you climb on Mount Hood."

Climbers on the mountain acknowledged the inherent danger in reaching the summit of Mount Hood.

"It happens. Climbing makes you feel so alive, but it makes you feel so alive because you're so close to death," Heiken said.

Weather conditions initially were good for a rescue, said Mark Morford of Portland Mountain Rescue.

The Search and Rescue Team is now investigating the accident to try and figure out what happened on Mount Hood.

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