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Climber dies in 1,000-foot sliding fall from the Hogsback on Mt. Hood

Climber 's body recovered on Mount Hood after 1,000-foot fall
June 14, 2012
By KPTV Web staff
Portland, OR

A Mount Hood climber who fell and slid 1,000 feet into a gully west of Hogsback Ridge died of his injuries Thursday morning.
Witnesses called 911 at about 5:15 a.m. after seeing the adult male climber fall at the 10,000-foot level. The climber was on a solo expedition on the mountain.

A climber fell 1,000 feet in the Hogsback Ridge on Mount Hood: Slideshow: Area of Mount Hood fall

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 the body.

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

"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.

"Any time you fall from that kind of distance, regardless of what you're falling in, the risk of injury is very high," said Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Adam 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 climber's name hasn't been released. His body has been handed over to the state medical examiner's office, who will determine the exact cause of death.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Esteemed climber dies in Mt. Hood fall

Esteemed climber dies in Mt. Hood fall
by Staff
June 14, 2012
Crews on Mount Hood recovered the body of a solo climber who fell about 1,000 feet Thursday at the Hogsback portion of the mountain.

The climber was identified as 56-year-old Mark Cartier, who was reportedly descending the mountain when he fell near Crater Rock.

Cartier is a well-known and experienced climber in the climbing community, according to a KGW source. He has worked at Columbia Sportswear as a director in footwear development and at Nike as a director in global football products.

His family said he had done many climbs around the world. Some in the recovery crew described him as someone they would not expect such an accident to happen to, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Adam Phillips said.

He had scouted routes at Smith Rock in Central Oregon and summited peaks in California, Alaska, Europe and the Himalayas.

His wife said in a statement Mt. Hood was his favorite mountain, "his special playground," after learning to climb at age 16. Deb Weekly said the only thing different in this climb was that he did not call her to say he had made it down.

"We need time to grieve and celebrate the incredible life he shared with us," she said.

"The Columbia family is stunned and saddened by the news of Mark's passing," CEO Tim Boyle said. "Mark was passionate about everything he did. He was an experienced outdoorsman and a loving family man. Our thoughts are with his wife, two children and other family and friends during this difficult time."

Just before 1 p.m., volunteers from the AMR RAT Team and Portland Mountain Rescue began carrying the body to meet a snow cat at the Palmer ski lift. From there they transported the body down the mountain.

Dispatchers received a phone call shortly after 5 a.m. from a climber below another group who saw the man fall, said Sgt. Brian O'Neil of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Video: Expert describes Mt. Hood rescues of climbers

About 100 people had registered to climb Mount Hood Thursday, O'Neil said.

KGW meteorologist Nick Allard reported a 5:30 a.m. temperature of 42 degrees at Timberline Lodge, with clear skies and calm winds. The freezing level was about 10,000 feet, he said.

Surface conditions were dicey at 10,000 feet, with the temperature just at freezing, Phillips said.

Zach Snow, of Ashland, had reached the Hogsback and heard the news from two other climbers that someone had taken a fall. Word spread quickly and rattled many of the climbers on the mountain, he told KGW.

Unnerved by the events, Snow said he turned back before reaching the summit. Others made the same decision, he said

Sky8: Climbers summit Hood Thursday morning

The Hogsback is a portion of the climb close to the summit on a route favored by most climbers.

Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue said the man appeared to be where a natural fall line would take him from a fall on the Hogsback, in this case near what he called the Headwall and Hot Rocks.

The climbing party should always be ready to provide extended first aid if a climber survives a fall, he said. Rescuers often come from Portland, which is about an hour-long drive, followed by 30 minutes of planning at Timberline Lodge, an hour trip by snow cat, then anywhere from another 30 to 60 minutes to climb to the accident scene.
--KGW Reporters Tim Gordon and Collette Wieland contributed to this report

This source was provided by The American Alpine Club's Oregon Section
Please go to the KGW website below for photos of Mark Cartier and video of SAR Volunteers on Mt. Hood:


Statement from Mark Cartier family

Esteemed climber dies in Mt. Hood fall
Statement from Mark Cartier family
June 14, 2012

Earlier today, on the slopes of Mt. Hood, Mark Cartier lost his life descending from his favorite mountain. My husband was a highly respected and accomplished climber and dedicated athlete. Starting at age 16, Mark became a serious climber.

His first love was rock climbing and we met because he was my rock climbing teacher. Mark helped establish numerous routes at Smith Rock and deftly reached the summit of mountains in Oregon, California, Alaska, Europe, the Himalayas, and many other places.

He always exemplified the description of preparedness and calculated risk. I can also say he was well-respected by the very people who helped recover him.

A past member of the Timberline Mountain Guides, Mark used Mt. Hood as his special playground. Mark 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. His greatest thrill in the past few years has been that of a proud spectator and supporter of his teenaged children as they became smart, wonderful young people and athletes.

Mark left this morning from Timberline Lodge after signing into the Mt. Climbers Registry.

He 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. Hearing of the accident today, I safely assumed he had stopped to assist someone in need. That was the type of climber Mark has always been.

Mark’s family, friends, co-workers and climbing partners will miss him. I ask the media to please respect my family and Mark’s extended family’s privacy. We need time to grieve and celebrate the incredible life that he shared with us.


Mt. Hood Climbing Fatalities

Mt. Hood Climbing Fatalities
by staff
June 14, 2012

Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, is a popular site among climbers in the United States. In 25 years, it has been the site of dozens of climbing accidents and fatalities.

The worst on record happened in May 1986 when nine people -- seven students from Oregon Episcopal School and two adults -- died after they dug a snow cave during a sudden storm.

February 2012 - Jared Townsley, 32, of Tigard was found dead below Crater Rock after what was believed to have been a fall in icy conditions.

December 2009 - Reid Glacier: Luke T. Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Washington is found dead at the 9,000-feet level of Mt. Hood on a day-climb with two friends.

January 2009 - Hogsback: Brooke Colvin, 31, is killed after being struck by falling ice in the area below the Pearly Gates and knocked several hundred feet down the mountain. She was climbing with her husband, 33-year-old Thad Stavn.

July 2008 - Cooper Spur: Gary Lee, 55, is descending from the summit on the Cooper Spur route when he's struck by a falling rock. His body is located 1,000 feet below, just above the Elliot Glacier.

December 2006 - Cooper Spur: Kelly James, Brian Hall, and Jerry Cooke attempt to scale the difficult north side of the mountain and perish in a storm. James' body is later found in a snow cave near the summit. Hall and Cooke's bodies are not found.

November 2004 - Sandy Glacier: Kenny D. Kasselder, 37, dies after falling into a crevasse about 30 feet deep on the Sandy Glacier on the west side.

March 2003 - South Side: Fred Frauens, 49, leaves Timberline Lodge on a solo snowshoe hike up the south slope. He is last seen at 9,500 feet.

May 30, 2002 - South Side: Three groups of climbers -- nine people in all -- fall into a crevasse on the south slope. Rick Read, 48, and Bill Ward, 49, both of Forest Grove, and John Biggs, 62, of Windsor, Calif., die from the fall.

May 24, 2002 - Cooper Spur: Snowboarder Juancarlos Munoz, 30, attempts to snowboard from the summit but dies after falling 2,500 feet onto Eliot Glacier. Munoz, an Argentine, was living in Government Camp and working at Timberline Lodge.

September 2001: Karoly Janos Orsi, 26, a Hungarian exchange student, disappears on a solo day hike.
August 2001: Evan Clark, 15, of Hinsdale, Ill., dies after a chunk of ice crushes him near the Cloud Cap hiking area.

June 4, 2000 - Summit: Diana B. Kornet, 29, of Portland, who had reached the summit, slips as she looks over the mountain's northeast side and falls more than 2,500 feet to her death.

May 23, 1999 - Cooper Spur: Carey Cardon, 31, and Tena Cardon, 29, of Hillsboro, who reached the summit, die shortly after starting their descent, falling together about 1,500 feet along the northeast face. One of them slips and pulls the other as they descend the Cooper Spur route.

May 31, 1998 - West Crater Rim: Tom McGlinn, a 39-year-old climbing with a Mazamas climbing class, is buried and killed when snow and rock give way on the mountain's west side near Illumination Rock.

September 6, 1997 - Cooper Spur: Mark Fraas, 40, dies after falling 1,500 feet while climbing the Cooper Spur route on the northeast face.

September 1995 - Cathedral Ridge: Ken Budlong, 45, of Portland disappears on a solo climb via the Cathedral Ridge route in Hood River County.

July 1994 - Cooper Spur: Four climbers roped together fall 700 feet down the Cooper Spur route, stopping at the lip of a crevasse on Eliot Glacier. Ole Groupe, 16, of Pendleton and Jerry Milton, 51, of McMinnville die in the fall. The other climbers are rescued by helicopter.

July 18, 1991 - John Pospisil III, 14, dies when he and his 12-year-old brother, Luke, lose control during an intentional slide and fall into a canyon while descending during a family outing. Luke Pospisil survives.

June 1990 - The body of George W. Ott, 76, of Corvallis, is recovered from the face of Mount Hood after he dies of hypothermia. Ott's widow, Marian, says she did not expect her husband, who had terminal cancer, to return from the trip he had chosen to make by himself.

July 11, 1987 - South Side: Arthur Andersen Jr., 59, of Sherwood, dies when he and two other men fall into the Bergschrund crevasse.

May 13, 1986 - South Side: Seven students and two adults from Oregon Episcopal School freeze to death after being trapped in a whiteout while ascending. Killed are Tasha Amy, 15; Alison Litzenberger, 15; Richard Header,16; Erik Sandvik, 15; Susan Elizabeth McClave, 17; Patrick Francis Mcginness, 15; Erin O'Leary, 15; the Rev. Dr. Thomas Goman, 41, and Marion Horwell, 40.

June 20, 1982 - Leuthold Couloir: While in Leuthold Couloir a large avalanche came down from above and caught one rope team of three climbers. One climber was killed by the crushing action of this type of avalanche.

June 21, 1981 - Cooper Spur: Five people in a group of climbers die in a fall from Cooper Spur while descending. Killed on Mount Hood are Jim Darby, 35, Newberg; Garth Westcott, 35, Bend; Larry Young, 30, Corvallis; George Anderson, 36, Boring; and Leah Lorenson, 39, Vancouver.

June 6, 1981 - Cooper Spur: David H. Turple, 51, of Portland and Bill Pilkenton, 17, of Newberg die in a fall from Cooper Spur to Eliot Glacier.

April 26, 1975 - White River Canyon: A Mazamas mountaineering class attempted to cross White River Canyon and some were caught in an avalanche. One died.

June 20, 1959 - South Side: A group of Explorer Scouts were caught in a wet snow avalanche above the bergschrund and carried into it. One died.


What can mountain climbers learn from this tragic death?

Purpose and Description: The primary purpose of these reports and the Annual Report of Accidents in North American Mountaineering is to aid in the prevention of accidents.

Two questions concern me as accident analyst at this writing, about this tragic mountaineering accident.
1.Was this experienced athletic climber using trekking poles when he slipped on the hard snow slope of the Hogsback on his descent in early morning, from the summit of Mt. Hood? I ask because it is almost impossible to self belay or self arrest a slip on a steep hard snow slope without two hands on a traditional long mountaineering ice axe. It is a common practice now (and almost un-heard of a generation ago) to use two poles and have the mountaineering ice axe secured to the summit pack. Analysis by the Mountaineering Counsel of Scotland recommends caution in the use of one or two poles instead of the traditional long ice axe. Read More

2. Was this experienced climber wearing a climbing helmet? There is no information given in the Sherriff's Report about either question. Likely the extreme forces of a tumbling fall of 1,000 vertical feet at 40 to 50 mph on hard snow were more severe than could be withstood for more than a moment by a helmet, although a skull fracture recently reported, was deemed the cause of death of a previous fatality in similar late season conditions.
Note: An eye witness report on confirms that Mark was wearing a helmet. He simply slipped in late season hard snow conditions and was unable to immediately self belay or self arrest. The use of poles was not mentioned and is unlikely.
--Robert Speik



See yonder height! 'Tis far away -- unbidden comes the word "Impossible!"

"Not so," says the mountaineer.  "The way is long, I know; its difficult -- it may be dangerous."

"It's possible, I'm sure; I'll seek the way, take counsel of my brother mountaineers,
and find out how they have reached similar heights and learned to avoid the dangers."

He starts (all slumbering down below); the path is slippery and may be dangerous too. 
Caution and perseverance gain the day -- the height is reached! and those beneath cry, "Incredible! 'Tis superhuman!"

This is a passage we found on page 161 of "Scrambles Amongst the Alps" by Edward Wymper,
first published in 1871 and reprinted 1981 by Ten Speed Press, Berkley, CA.




Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can, only in part, be mitigated


Read more . . .
Mount Hood - Climber dies in 1,000' solo fall from the Hogback
Mount Hood - Experienced Climber dies in solo fall on hard snow
Mount Hood - Analysis of the December 2009 deaths of three climbers on Reid Glacier Headwall
Mount Hood - Fatal ice fall below the Pearly Gates during warming winter weather
Mount Hood - Fatal rock fall below the Eliot Glacier Headwall during summer conditions
Mount Hood - Climber falls 300 feet descending the South Side from the summit
Mount Hood - Climber falls descending Mazama Chute from summit
Mount Hood - Lessons learned from the latest lost Mt. Hood climbers
Mount Hood - Two climbers become lost descending the South Side
Mount Hood - Final Report to the American Alpine Club on the loss of three climbers in December 2006
Mount Hood - Veteran climber injured during ice axe arrest on Mt Hood
Mount Hood - Climber injured by falling ice, rescued by helicopter
Mount Hood - Three climbers, their MLU and a dog "rescued"
Mount Hood - Three North Face climbers lost
Mount Hood - What happened to the three climbers on the North Face?
Mount Hood - Solo climber falls from Cooper Spur
Mount Hood - Climbing accident claims three lives -Final Report and our Analysis 
Mount Hood - 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!