Climber dies in fall on Mt. Hood; crews respond to multiple inci - KPTV - FOX 12

Climber dies in fall on Mt. Hood; crews respond to multiple incidents on the mountain

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Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
MOUNT HOOD, OR (KPTV) -

Search and rescue crews responded to a fallen climber and a stranded group of climbers on Mount Hood on Tuesday.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported at 11:10 a.m. that a rescue operation was underway on the mountain.

By 12:45 p.m., deputies said they were dealing with two separate incidents on Mt. Hood. 

One situation involved a climber who fell on Hogsback.

An Oregon National Guard spokesman said that climber was estimated to have fallen 700 to 1,000 feet. A National Guard helicopter crew was called out to assist in the rescue efforts. 

By around 1:30 p.m., the climber who fell was hoisted off the mountain and taken to the hospital. Deputies later confirmed the climber was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Portland hospital. 

The climber's name and age were not immediately released. 

In a second incident, three climbers were stranded near Hogsback, with one person injured. Deputies said that person’s injuries were not life-threatening, but while the group was in a safe location, moving down from that spot was considered hazardous. The group was staying put until reached by rescue crews.

Three climbers who were with the climber who fell joined the second group to wait for rescue crews, according to deputies.

Those six climbers remained on the mountain exhausted, in shock, or concerned over the conditions.

"Just physiologically it is really hard to see somebody take such a bad fall and what not, and it really brings home how dangerous the upper mountain can be," said Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue.

Crews worked "feverishly" to reach all the climbers, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. 

Portland Mountain Rescue also had a team responding to the scene. A spokesman for Portland Mountain Rescue said conditions in the crater area are dangerous due to falling ice and rock. 

Authorities said weather conditions in the Hogsback area on Mount Hood were expected to worsen overnight. 

Around 6:30 p.m., two of the climbers who were with the climber who fell arrived at Timberline Lodge.

"Both of them are upset, they appear to be physically and mentally exhausted which is a normal reaction to an event like today," said Sgt. Brian Jensen with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said a woman, who was also with the climber, was coming down the mountain when she became unable to move. She was brought down 600 feet at a time on a sled roped by rescuers until they reached a snowcat.

"Really hard in these kind of rough ice conditions to kind of maneuver that down, that patient was very good and very stoic in that situation because that was not easy," said Rollins.

By 8 p.m., all of the stranded climbers had made it safely down to Timberline Lodge. 

Clackamas County Search and Rescue, Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response, the 304th Air Force Rescue Squad, Crag Rats Hood River, Mountain Wave SAR, and Navy personnel from Naval Station Whidbey Island assisted in Tuesday's rescue operations.

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