Crews recover climber who died on Mt. Jefferson - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews recover climber who died on Mt. Jefferson

Posted: Updated: Dec 02, 2015 12:06 AM
MT. JEFFERSON, OR (KPTV) -

A day after a pair of missing climbers were found in a crevasse on Mt. Jefferson, crews were able to bring down the body of the man who died on the climb.

Thomas Fountain, 32, and his wife Alison, 29, were found early Monday morning. Mrs. Fountain had been able to text rescue crews for help, and was pulled from the mountain at that time.

Severe weather conditions late Monday prevented crews from going back to after the initial search to bring Mr. Fountain’s body back down from the rescue scene.

Tuesday afternoon an Oregon Air National Guard helicopter was able to lower a rescue medic and a climber from the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Team on to the mountain to recover the body.

"Tommy had this infectious spirit and personality, he was always the life of the party," said sister Krissy Espindola. "I think most of all, he was a really great friend and everyone that met him loved him. He is going to be very missed."

Espindola tells FOX 12 that her brother loved the outdoors and everything about mountains. It was a goal of his, to climb as many mountains as he could with his beloved Alison by his side, she added.

"They got engaged on Mt. Kilimanjaro and married at Mt. Rainier," said father Thomas Fountain. "They planned their whole life around climbing."

Family says the two were hoping to check one more mountain off their list over the weekend when they began their climb up Mt. Jefferson. But, the elements turned on them. So much so, family says, the experienced climbers knew it was best to turn around and try again another day.

"They were on their way back down, and Tommy was making divots in the ice for Alison to help her down," said Espindola. "In doing so he slipped and went into the crevasse."

"They were very prepared, so they had beacons and all of the right equipment. They were able to communicate to get help," she added. 

While the two waited for help to arrive, Alison, who is a flight nurse, did everything in her power to save her husband, according to family. But, his injuries were too severe.

"She did an amazing job," said Espindola. "In speaking to the sheriff and listening to the story of how she tried to save him, she really went above and beyond. It is really heart breaking it had to end this way."

Family says they are taking comfort knowing that Tommy died doing what he loved, and alongside the person that he loved. They are now focused on supporting Fountain's daughter and preserving her love for the outdoors.  It's something, they say, he would have wanted. 

The Fountain family wants to thank all of the search and rescue crews who fought tirelessly to get to Tommy and Alison, especially in such dangerous conditions. The family set up a GoFundMe account at this link

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