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Solo Climber Stranded on Crater Rock
"Lost Hood climber posts to Facebook before rescue"

Solo Climber Stranded on Crater Rock
Portland Mountain Rescue
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on November 28, 2012, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office requested PMR to respond to a climber stranded in white out conditions near Crater Rock on Mt. Hood. The sheriff had been in cell phone communication with the subject and reported that he was uninjured, but cold and wet. The subject was unable to navigate safely from his location. The sheriff was able to provide GPS coordinates from the subject’s cell phone call to 911, which located him near the base of the south side of Crater Rock at around 10,000 feet elevation.

Thirteen PMR rescuers assembled at Timberline Lodge and boarded a snow cat around 6:30 p.m. The snow cat was able to transport them to the top of the Palmer Lift at approximately 8600 feet. The teams were greeted by 50 mph winds, heavy snow fall and rime ice conditions (fog that freezes to form a layer of ice on everything, including rescuers and their gear). In these conditions, a hasty team traveling light and fast proceeded to the area of the GPS coordinates. A second group consisting of two teams followed carrying first aid supplies, a litter and ropes and other technical gear.

After several hours of searching in very difficult conditions, the PMR teams had not located the subject. Visibility was poor--at times 4 feet or less--and wind muffled their shouts and whistle blasts. The PMR teams searched the area below Crater Rock, the Hogsback and Devils Kitchen without making contact with the subject.

During this time, cell phone communications with the subject were lost. The subject had been taking calls from friends, texting with the sheriff and friends and posting on Facebook. His battery eventually gave out.

Finally, around 11:45 p.m., there was a brief improvement in conditions with increased visibility and lower winds. During that interlude, PMR rescuers made voice and visual contact with the subject and reached him quickly. They gave the subject warm drink and completed a short medical assessment. They determined that the subject could walk out with assistance.

Still navigating in difficult conditions, they descended to the top of the Palmer lift and a waiting snow cat around 1:30 a.m. All teams were out of the field at approximately 2:00 a.m.

This was a challenging rescue due to the very difficult mountain conditions. PMR encourages climbers to conservatively interpret weather forecasts and not to climb into approaching storm systems. All climbers should be prepared for conditions to suddenly deteriorate; they should carry compass, map and GPS and be proficient with navigation in difficult conditions.

The subject’s cell phone was an important factors in this rescue. Climbers, however, should not depend on cell phones, due to limited back country reception and because cell phones are not designed to function in extreme environments. When back country travelers needing rescue have functioning cell phones, they should carefully preserve battery charge by keeping the cell phone warm in their parka and should use it only for essential communication or navigation functions. Text messages consume far less battery charge than voice calls or internet use, and text messages often can be transmitted even when a voice connection cannot be established.


Lost Hood climber posts to Facebook before rescue

Lost Hood climber posts to Facebook before rescue
by KGW Staff
Posted on November 29, 2012

A climber on Mount Hood lost in a whiteout Tuesday afternoon was found by searchers around 11:45 p.m., warmed up by rescuers and brought off the mountain early Thursday morning.

Jeffrey Kish, 30, of Portland, was brought off the mountain about 2 a.m. He told KGW that other than his hands being cold, he was fine.

Kish called on a cell phone around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to say he was descending from the summit of Mount Hood and had become lost in whiteout conditions.

He told KGW after his rescue that visibility was down to several feet and he had slipped several times before realizing he needed help.

Kish posted to his Facebook account from the mountainside. He posted his GPS coordinates around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, telling his friends "Ok Guys. I have no idea where I am, other than right on the edge of
some gnarly cliff. Too far east or west?"

He also posted "You're gonna hear about it in the news anyway, may as well spill it myself. Got stuck in a storm on the summit of mt. Hood. Stuck on cliffs over 10,000' in a white out. Called 911 after several hours of
trying to self rescue. Search and rescue has been notified. Wish me luck!"

Kish said on his Facebook page he was trying to keep warm inside a down sleeping bag while waiting for searchers to locate him. He said he was prepared for the elements and had enough clothing, food and water
for a few days.

The search was concentrated below the Hogsback near the 10,000 foot level. Kish was in cell contact with his rescuers but his cell phone died around 9:30 p.m.

When Clackamas County searchers got to the GPS location Kish had given, they could not find him. Searchers split into two crews and continued to look, and located him just before midnight at a second set of
coordinates deputies received from his phone.

"Those guys saved my life," he said.

Kish is an experienced climber and hiker, having hiked the Pacific Crest Trail this summer, according to his Facebook page.

In anticipation of the climb, Kish had posted the following on Tuesday. "Anyone in the Portland area with crampons, an ice axe, a car, and Tuesday night and Wednesday off of work wanna go on an adventure?"


Facebook - Jeff D. Kish

Here's an account of what the rescuers at Portland Mountain Rescue had to go through to help me out this week, as seen through their eyes.

It was a really difficult time to be on the mountain, and they came up big to help me out in conditions like that. I can't thank PMR enough for their help, and what it took to be up there that night.

I've certainly learned my lesson about interpreting forecasts. I thought I'd have enough time to avoid bad conditions, but they came early, and worse than described. To be safe up there, you definitely need a bigger buffer than I gave myself.

The one thing that gets continually misreported though was my phone use. I called 911 and my parents, and made the posts on Facebook in the first half hour. I believe the post to Facebook actually saved battery life, by allowing me to contact all 300 of you once real quick before you heard about it on the news and all called me. The sheriff told me times when I would not receive contact, and my phone was turned off during those times. In times when the phone was on, I answered calls only twice.Once to tell my parents to STOP calling and wasting my battery, and once when the number came up blocked, because that's how the sheriffs number came up. I told the caller to hang up immediately. I received texts, and could see their content without opening them as they were displayed on the screen when I looked at my phone during calls. I took a lot of heat for wasting battery, but I don't think any of the reports of how I used it actually understood the facts. My usage may have been misinterpreted because I was receiving information from the ground through those texts, but that's it.
--Copyright 2012 by Jeff D. Kish. All Rights Reserved



What can mountain climbers learn from this accident?

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.

County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Units (and Fire Departments, etc.) are prohibited by HIPAA Regulations from providing information about the folks they rescue. I am trying to contact "Jeffrey D. Kish". If Jeff  will contact me, I can provide more information from his perspective. It is important that other folks thinking of climbing Mt. Hood have the benefit of his preparations and response to his stranding.

I have a number of questions for Jeff that may be helpful to others. I will post them here within a few days.

"TraditionalMountaineering is founded on the premise that "He who knows naught, knows not that he knows naught", that exploring the hills and summitting peaks have dangers that are hidden to the un-informed and that these inherent risks can be in part, identified and mitigated by mentoring: information, training, wonderful gear, and knowledge gained through the experiences of others.

"The value of TraditionalMountaineering to our Friends is the selectivity of the information we provide, and its relevance to introducing folks to informed hiking on the trail, exploring off the trail, mountain travel and Leave-no-Trace light-weight bivy and backpacking, technical travel over steep snow, rock and ice, technical glacier travel and a little technical rock climbing on the way to the summit. Whatever your capabilities and interests, there is a place for everyone in traditional alpine mountaineering."


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 (whose bodies were found in the spring of 2010)..

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.




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 - Lost Hood climber posts to Facebook before rescue
Mount Hood - Climber slips and slides down icy face on Mount Hood from the Hogsback
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!