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Solo climber another fatality on Mt. Hood's Cooper Spur

Mount Hood climber identified as Seattle man
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Seattle climber died Friday after falling down the east side of Mount Hood, authorities said.

The climber was identified as Todd R. Engelhardt, 34.

The fall was reported about 6:15 a.m. on the Cooper Spur route along the Newton-Clark glacier, according to the Hood River County sheriff's office.

Engelhardt was believed to be at about the 10,000-foot level of the mountain when he fell more than 1,000 feet. The cause of the accident was unclear.

Engelhardt was climbing alone. He was well-equipped, authorities said.

Steve Rollins, vice president of Portland Mountain Rescue and a seasoned rescuer, said the Cooper Spur route is difficult and the final 2,000 feet can be dangerous.

An Army National Guard helicopter crew recovered the body, said Capt. Mike Braibish, National Guard spokesman.



Solo climb of Mount Hood ended in fatal fall
Seattle Post Intelligencer
By Gordy Holt
Tuesday, June 28, 2005

For one reason or another, one after another, Todd Engelhardt's climbing pals bailed out on his plan to climb Mount Hood in Oregon last week.

So Engelhardt went alone. He planned to climb the mountain's Cooper Spur route, a long spine of snow on rock with views north across the Columbia River to the 11,239- foot mountain's sister volcanoes in Washington: Adams, St. Helens and Rainier.

Perhaps he should have waited.

He didn't, and he died there Friday morning.

A friend, Dennis Burnett, said Engelhardt showed him a map of the mountain, pointing to spots on the route where trouble could be expected.

"He pointed to the place where he said he'd end up falling if he messed up. He told me, 'This is the line I'm going to take.' He knew with 100 percent certainty what could happen to him if something did go wrong, and it did."

A report from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office said Engelhardt fell about 1,500 feet, but appeared to have been well-equipped for a route that has taken the lives of at least 16 climbers since records first were kept.

Engelhardt, 34, came from the comparative flats of Pennsylvania, where he was raised, and Oxford, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English and journalism at Miami University, before surrendering to the call of the Northwest's vertical geography.

He let high-mountain living tug him first to Portland, where he paid his way by working for a couple of brew pubs, and then to Seattle and a job at another brew pub three years ago.

"When we hired him, he insisted on Saturdays and Sundays off," said Todd Carden, owner of the popular Elliott Bay Brewery Pub in West Seattle, where Engelhardt was a waiter.

It was there that he earned the nickname "Gravy," said Burnett, a fellow waiter.

Seems the restaurant's heat, combined with the heat of body parts rubbing, could be eased for Engelhardt with strategic dustings of that time-tested heat remedy, cornstarch.

"So we always kidded him about making gravy in his pants," Burnett said.

Engelhardt's girlfriend, Christy Bemis, said he always gave her a sheet of paper detailing his climbs, where he would be, the routes he would take and when to get worried.

On this one he wrote, "If you don't hear from me by noon, call the Hood River Sheriff."

With July 4 and the heat of summer looming, this was to have been Engelhardt's last big mountain for a while, Bemis said. Over Father's Day weekend, he climbed Mount Daniel in the North Cascades.

"He was fully aware of the dangers," she said. "He expected to start climbing (Mount Hood) about 10 at night because there was to be a full moon."

Dan Schrader was on the list of those Engelhardt would have teamed up with had schedules matched.

"But most of us work during the week and couldn't get off," Schrader said. "I told him I couldn't make it, and that's the last I heard."

Shortly after 7 a.m. Friday, two unidentified climbers saw Engelhardt fall and called Clackamas County 911.

A search plane later spotted the body. It lay below the spur's south side, at the 8,500-foot level of Newton-Clark Glacier.

A ground crew and two Oregon National Guard helicopters were dispatched to retrieve it.

John Godino, secretary of The Mazamas, a Portland-based climbing organization, said the Cooper Spur route has become Mount Hood's deadliest, partly because a fall from the upper 500 feet "will take a person over near-vertical snow or rock.

"Apparently, that's what happened here. But there is really no way of knowing, since it was a solo climb. There was no one to say exactly where the fall took place. Or why."

Carden, the Elliott Bay Brewery Pub owner, said a celebration of Engelhardt's life will take place between 1 and 4 p.m. July 4 at the pub where he worked, 4720 California Ave. S.W. in West Seattle.

Engelhardt is survived by his parents, Paul Engelhardt of Hanover, Pa., and Elizabeth Yaekle of Granville, Ohio.



What can mountain climbers learn from this tragic death?

Todd Engelhardt may have been another victim of soft spring snow on steep volcanic slopes this spring. At least 16 climbers have died from falls from the steep slopes of Cooper Spur. Cooper Spur should not be down-climbed after the spring sun strikes the steep slopes. Another descent route should be planned. Possible causes, a slip in soft snow while downclimbing or a slough avalanche that overwhelmed the climber. Climbing alone carries special risks that can be mitigated by companions. 
 --Robert Speik





Read more . . .
Sierra club, Angeles Chapter
American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering

About Alpine Mountaineering:
  The Sport of Alpine Mountaineering
  Climbing Together
  Following the Leader
  The Mountaineers' Rope
  Basic Responsibilities       Cuatro Responsabiliades Basicas de Quienes Salen al Campo
  The Ten Essentials         Los Diez Sistemas Esenciales

  Avalanche avoidance
How can I avoid dying in an avalanche?
Avalanche training courses - understanding avalanche risk
How is avalanche risk described and rated by the professionals?   pdf table 
Known avalanche slopes near Bend, OR?
What is a PLB?
Can I avoid avalanche risk with good gear and seminars?  pdf file

  Lost and Found
Climber on Mt. Rainier dies, others injured
Once again, hypothermia kills stranded Oregon driver
Lessons learned from the latest lost Mt. Hood climbers
Lessons learned from the latest lost Christmas tree hunters
New rescue services for all American Alpine Club Members
OpEd: Oregon requires electronic communications in the backcountry
Rescue charges in traditional alpine mountaineering
Governor establishes a Search and Rescue Task Force
Oregon Search and Rescue Statutes
Lost hiker in Oregon backcountry found with heat-sensing device in airplane
HB2509 mandates electronic locator beacons on Mt. Hood - climbers' views
Oregon HB 2509 as approved on March 28, 2007
Three hikers and a dog rescued on Mt. Hood
Motorist stuck in snow on backcountry Road 18, phones 911 for rescue
Snow stranded Utah couple leave car and die from hypothermia
What really happened to the three climbers on Mt. Hood?
Two climbers become lost descending Mt. Hood
Missing California family found, dad dies from exposure and hypothermia
Missing man survives two weeks trapped in snow-covered car
Missing snowmobile riders found, Roger Rouse dies from hypothermia
Lost snowmobile riders found, one deceased from hypothermia
Longacre Expeditions teen group rescued from the snowdrifts above Todd Lake
Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake
Hiking couple lost three nights in San Jacinto Wilderness find abandoned gear
Expert skier lost five days in North Cascades without Essentials, map and compass
Climber disappears on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Hiker lost five days in freezing weather on Mount Hood
Professor and son elude search and rescue volunteers
Found person becomes lost and eludes rescuers for five days
Teens, lost on South Sister, use cell phone with Search and Rescue
Lost man walks 27 miles to the highway from Elk Lake Oregon
Snowboarder Found After Week in Wilderness
Searchers rescue hiker at Smith Rock, find lost climbers on North Sister
Girl found in Lane County after becoming lost on hiking trip
Search and rescue finds young girls lost from family group
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Rescues after the recent snows
Novice couple lost in the woods
Search called off for missing climber Corwin Osborn
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
Ollalie Trail - OSU Trip - Lost, No Map, Inadequate Clothing

  Mountaineering Accidents in the recent News
Solo climber falls from Cooper Spur on Mount Hood
Climber dies on the steep snow slopes of Mount McLaughlin
Climbers swept by avalanche while descending North Sister's Thayer Glacier Snowfield
Wilderness Travel Course Newsletter  this is a large PDF file
Runaway glissade fatal for Mazama climber on Mt. Whitney
Yosemite's El Capitan tests rescuers' skills
Climbers fall from Mount Hood's Sandy Glacier Headwall
Solo hiker drowns while crossing Mt. Hood's Sandy River
Injured climber rescued from Mount Washington
Mt. Washington tragedy claims two climbers
Another Mt. Rainier climber dies on Liberty Ridge
Mt. Rainier climber dies after rescue from Liberty Ridge
Young hiker suffers fatal fall and slide in the Three Sisters Wilderness
North Sister claims another climber
Solo climber Aron Ralston forced to amputate his own arm
Portland athlete lost on Mt. Hood
Broken Top remains confirmed as missing climber
Grisly find: hikers on Broken Top find apparent human remains
Once again, cell phone alerts rescuers of injured climber
Storm on Rainier proves fatal
Mountain calamity on Hood brings safety to the fore!
Fall into the Bergschrund on Mt. Hood, rescuers crash!
Paying the price for rescue
Accidents in North American Mountaineering
Goran Kropp killed while rock climbing in Washington

Climbers swept by avalanche while descending North Sister's Thayer Glacier Snowfield
Snowshoer dies in backcountry avalanche in Washington State
Young Bend man dies in remote backcountry avalanche
Recent deaths cause concern over avalanche beacons
Skilled member of The Mountaineers killed in avalanche
Basic Responsibilities of the cross country skier
Avalanche avoidance a practical approach to avalanche safety
Tumalo Mountain a wintertime treat

  North Sister
Climbers swept by avalanche while descending North Sister's Thayer Glacier Snowfield
North Sister - climbing with Allan Throop
North Sister - accident report to the American Alpine Club
North Sister fatal accident news reports
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
North Sister, North Ridge by Sam Carpenter
North Sister, the Martina Testa Story, by Bob Speik
North Sister, SE Ridge solo by Sam Carpenter

  North Sister Photos
Middle and North Sister exploratory adventure
North Sister and Middle Sister spring summits on telemark skis
Timberline Mountain Guides lead North Sister climbs
North Sister, the Terrible Traverse in September, 1999
North Sister, Scott's solo summer summit
North Sister exploratory
North Sister winter solo 
North Sister: crux photos of the Three Sisters Marathon
North Sister images

  Other Summits
Report: R.J. Secor seriously injured during a runaway glissade
     Mount Rainer . . . eventually, with R.J. Secor by Tracy Sutkin
Mt. Whitney's East Face Route is quicker!
Mt. Whitney's Mountaineer's Route requires skill and experience
Sierra Club climb on Middle Palisade fatal for Brian Reynolds
Runaway glissade fatal for Mazama climber on Mt. Whitney
Slip on hard snow on Snow Creek route on San Jacinto
Notable mountain climbing accidents analyzed
California fourteener provides an experience
The Mountaineers Club effects a rescue in the North Cascades

  Mount Hood
Mount Hood - climbing accident claims three lives -Final Report and our Analysis 
Notable mountain climbing accidents Analyzed 
Mount Hood - Solo hiker drowns while crossing Mt. Hood's Sandy River
Mount Hood - Solo climber slides into the Bergschrund and is found the following day
Mount Hood - The Episcopal School Tragedy
Mount Hood - experienced climbers rescued from snow cave
Mount Hood - a personal description of the south side route
Mount Hood - fatal avalanche described by Climbing Ranger
Mount Hood - avalanche proves fatal for members of Mazamas climbing group
Mount Hood - snowboard rider dies on Cooper Spur
Mount Hood - fatal fall on snow, Cooper Spur Route
Mount Hood - fatal fall on snow from the summit
Mount Hood - climb shows the need for knowledge
Mount Hood - climb ends in tragedy 
Mount Hood - rescue facilitated by use of a VHF radio

  Mount Washington
Mount Washington - Report to the American Alpine Club on a second accident in 2004
Mount Washington - Report to the American Alpine Club on the recent fatal accident
Mount Washington - Oregon tragedy claims two lives
Injured climber rescued from Mount Washington
Mount Washington - fall on rock, protection pulled out
Playing Icarus on Mount Washington, an epic by Eric Seyler