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Rescue on Mount Hood, Oregon

Climber dies after falling on Oregon’s Mount Hood: ‘He started cartwheeling’


By KATU Staff and The Associated Press

TIMBERLINE LODGE, Ore. (KATU/AP) - A man died Tuesday after he fell from a ridge on Mount Hood when the group he was with encountered treacherous conditions.

Six other climbers were rescued.

The man was climbing Oregon's tallest peak with three other climbers when he fell 700 feet to 1,000 feet shortly before 10:30 a.m. in the Hogsback area of the mountain, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. That area is near the summit.

Meanwhile, a group of three other climbers also got stranded in the same area.

The rescue effort to get all the climbers who needed help off the mountain lasted into the early evening. The last climber, a woman who was with the man who fell, was brought to Timberline Lodge at around 8 p.m.

Her condition was not immediately clear. But Sgt. Brian Jensen, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said rescuers had to put her on a sled to get her down the mountain because she couldn’t physically move.

The process to do so was slow, however. Jensen said rescuers could only move her 600 feet at a time due to the fact the rope they were using was only that long.

After the climber fell, other climbers performed CPR on him while they awaited rescue.

A Blackhawk helicopter with the Oregon Army National Guard arrived at the scene. The climber was lifted into the helicopter, which flew him to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland at around 1:30 p.m. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

An eyewitness who saw the climber's fatal fall said right before the man disappeared from view "he started cartwheeling."

Quinn Talley of Welches, Oregon, told The Associated Press that he has climbed the mountain about 20 times and had never seen worse conditions.

Talley said after summiting around 8 a.m. he was descending ahead of the man who died.

"A party of three was coming down. and one of the guys slipped. At first he was just sliding and right before he disappeared, he started cartwheeling," Talley said.

Talley said he tried to reach the man, but the ice was too dangerous and he didn't want to fall and create the need for a second rescue. He came across one of the man's climbing partners, who was also trying to reach him, and offered him his medical kit before continuing his descent.

Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue said the weather had created icy conditions on the mountain.

"Any kind of fall on the upper mountain was going to result in probably a pretty bad fall," he said.

Throughout the rescue, crews were fighting the clock as a storm was forecast to move into the area overnight.

The name of the climber who died has not been released.

A snowcat brought the two men who were with the woman and the man who died off the mountain. When they arrived back, Jensen said the two men were exhausted and emotionally drained. One of the men had suffered cuts and bruises.

The three other climbers, accompanied by rescuers, made it down safely.

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