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Mount Hood - PMR rescues injured climber from the crater

PMR Rescues Injured Climber From Mt Hood's Crater
Thursday, September 30, 2004
(Updated October 10, 2004)

Thursday afternoon, a team from Portland Mountain Rescue, along with paramedics from American Medical Response, rescued an injured climber from the crater of Oregon's 11,239-foot Mount Hood.

A 56-year-old male fell on Wednesday while climbing the upper portion of the Hogsback ridge, near 11,000 feet. He slid down the ridge, landing in the Bergschrund crevasse at 10,700 feet, sustaining a fractured leg. The subject was alone and crawled down the Hogsback to an area near Crater Rock at 10,000 feet.

The man yelled for help, but was unable to contact anyone on Wednesday. Forced to spend the evening on the mountain, the climber finally contacted two New Zealanders who were climbing the mountain on Thursday morning. One of the two climbers descended to the Timberline Ski Area at 8,500 feet to report the situation. The Ski Patrol contacted the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office in order to launch a rescue mission.

The Sheriff activated PMR just after 10:00 AM and deployed a small team of paramedics from AMR's Reach and Treat (RAT) Team. While the RAT Team ascended the mountain, PMR volunteers rushed to Mount Hood.

After gathering their technical rescue gear, the PMR team rode a Timberline Ski Area sno-cat from Timberline Lodge to above Palmer Snowfield, near at 9,000 feet. From there, the rescuers hiked up to Crater Rock, packaged the subject and began the slow task of lowering the patient down the mountain to the waiting sno-cat.

Shortly after 6:00 PM, the PMR team delivered the climber to the safety of Timberline Lodge. The man's ultimate condition is not known, but his injuries are not life threatening.

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Note: We are not sure why a 56 year old man was solo climbing Mount Hood late in the day on a Wednesday in September. We are not sure why he could not arrest his solo slide into the gaping Bergschrund. Climbers need to practice the skills of self belay and self arrest at the beginning of every season, so that automatic reflexes are built to stop a slide before it becomes a fall. Thankfully he was able to self rescue out of the Bergschrund to a protected spot down the Hogsback near the volcanically active Crater Rock. Luckily, the weather was very warm and he was not overcome by gasses from the recent crater.

We are not sure why he was climbing solo without a cell phone and a GPS receiver. He would have avoided hours of personal pain from his broken leg and a long night out high on the mountain if he had simply cell-phoned 911 and SAR with his situation, condition and GPS Coordinates.   See photos--Robert Speik, Webmeister




Read more . . .
Mount Hood - Bergschrund incident, final accident report and analysis
Mount Hood - helicopter crashes during rescue
Mount Hood - incident causes safety concerns
Mount Hood - fatal fall on soft snow
Mount Hood - fatal fall on Cooper Spur
Mount Hood - fatal slip on hard snow from the summit
Mount Hood - lucky novice rescued
Mount Hood - lost on the mountain

Mount Hood - Fatal Avalanche described by Climbing Ranger
Avalanche avoidance is a practical approach to avalanche safety
Avalanche avoidance by David Spring  pdf 
Three personal experiences with avalanches
Experienced member of The Mountaineers killed in avalanche 
USA Avalanche risk descriptors 
What about snow caves?

Tumalo Mountain a wintertime treat
A map of know avalanche areas near Bend, Oregon

Basic Responsibilities of the cross country skier 

What about climbing Mount Hood?
How to travel over steep snow
The traditional alpine mountaineer's ice axe
Learning to climb steep hard snow slopes 5 pdf pages

Learning roped travel and ice axe arrest
South Sister spring climb for gear and techniques

Mount Shasta - slip on hard snow
Broken Top - slip on snow
McArthur Rim - slip on frozen scree
Middle Sister - slip on frozen scree
North Sister - fatal slip on snow
Three Finger Jack - fatal slip on snow

American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering