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Climbers Seriously Injured In Fall On Mount Hood
The two climbers fell about 500 feet near the top of Mount
Hood on Saturday,
and a National Guard helicopter was sent to rescue them.
KOMO 4 NEWS
June 17, 2006
Two climbers were rescued Saturday by a National
Guard helicopter crew after they were injured in a 500-foot fall near the top of
Aaron Dunlop, 31, of Newberg, and Jeremy Hawkins, 32, of Tigard, were in fair condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland, officials said.
A third climber in the party, Brad Wood, about 30, of Tigard, walked off the 11,240-foot mountain, the highest peak in Oregon and a popular destination for Pacific Northwest climbers.
Erik Broms of Portland Mountain Rescue was the leader of a three-man "ready team" who were at a staging area called the Hogsback, preparing to climb the final leg to the summit when he saw the trio fall and slide down the ice.
"As soon as we saw them sliding my partner and I started running down to where they were," Broms said.
Both Hawkins and Dunlop suffered multiple bruises and abrasions and possibly broken bones, Broms said, and were drifting in and out of consciousness as rescuers arrived. But both appeared to be alert as they awaited the helicopter, he said.
It was the first sunny day in Oregon after a long stretch of cloudy and rainy June weather, and ice coated the snow, Broms said.
"It was a day when you should have been a little more cautious," he said. "They were doing everything right, but sometimes somebody slips. It's an accident, it's not anybody's fault."
It was too icy for the trio to brake or halt their slide with their climbing equipment, Broms said.
The injured climbers were among three parties headed for the summit Saturday morning. The lead party fell backward, hitting a second party, and the mass of climbers then fell into a third party, according to Detective Jim Strovink, spokesman for the Clackamas County sheriff's office, the lead agency in Mount Hood rescues.
The accident occurred near the area where an Air Force Reserve helicopter crashed in May 2002 during another mountain rescue operation. The crew survived the crash, which was captured live on television. The helicopter had been sent to rescue the survivors of a fall that sent nine climbers tumbling into a crevasse, killing three of them.
Portland Mountain Rescue sends up "ready teams" every weekend during peak climbing season, and Broms said he happened to be a short distance from where the fall ended on Saturday. He estimated it at about 500 feet from the summit.
There were about 40 people on the mountain at the time, Broms said, a smaller number than usual for the time of year. Nearby climbers included a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger.
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard's 1042nd Medical Company with a crew of five, including a medic, handled the rescue on Saturday, said Kay Fristad, National Guard spokeswoman.
She said the Guard rescue team has been busy as the summer climbing season arrives.
"We're on the mountain more than off," Fristad said. "This is the time when the mountain is changing. The snow is softening, and crevasses are forming. It's not a good time for climbers."
Mt. Hood Accident
"My cousin, Jeremy, was in a serious fall (500 feet) off of Mt. Hood, Oregon yesterday. He was air lifted off the mountain. He has a bad break in his ankle and some cracked vertebrae. His parents say he is very banged up and doesn't look like himself at all. He has many bruises and scrapes all over despite wearing two coats and a helmet. The doctors stitched him up the best that they could and are hoping that he doesn't have a neck injury. His friend, Aaron, has a broken jaw and will need surgery, but should be returning home today. Keep them both in your prayers as well as their wives and parents. All are very worried."
Note: The same experience all over again! This accident is similar to the one in 2005, when three people were killed in a slide down into the Bergschrund that guards Hog Back. Read about this previous fall. --Webmeister Speik.
WARNING - *DISCLAIMER!*
Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can in part, be mitigated
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