Rescuers led by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office retrieved a husband-and-wife climbing team on Mount Hood Sunday morning, one of whom suffered moderate injuries after both slid approximately 700 feet down Oregon’s tallest peak.
Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinators were deployed at approximately 9:45 a.m., along with volunteers from American Medical Response’s Reach and Treat Team and from Portland Mountain Rescue, after receiving a report of a climbing accident on Mount Hood.
Initial reports were that two climbers had fallen approximately 1,000 feet and suffered injuries. Other climbers had made their way to where the patients were located and were rendering aid. The location of the two climbers was determined to be west of Hogsback, behind Crater Rock, at approximately 10,000 feet.
SAR coordinators later learned one climber, a 33-year-old female, had moderate injuries. Her husband, who is 30, suffered only minor injuries. The two climbers were tethered, and authorities believe they, in fact, slid about 700 feet down the mountain.
The Hood River Crag Rats joined SAR coordinators, AMR’s RAT Team and PMR at Timberline Lodge. The Hood River Sheriff’s Office also sent a SAR coordinator to assist, Mountain Wave deployed to help with communications, and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement joined the rescue effort.
The first team of rescuers reached the couple and the climbers helping them just after 1 p.m. Sunday. A helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard had been requested, but it was canceled when rescuers determined the woman was not critically injured.
Rescue teams stabilized the woman and began their descent to Timberline Lodge, which they reached at around 6 p.m. and were met by AMR paramedics. She was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The man was able to provide assistance to his wife alongside rescuers, and came down the mountain under his own power.
According to PMR, the climbers were roped together but were not setting anchors to hold a fall. They were wearing microspikes instead of technical crampons for grip on the ice.
The woman reportedly lost her footing, and the roped-together climbers fell 700 feet down the crater wall, landing close to the Hot Rocks fumarole at the bottom. Miraculously, the resulting injuries were not life-threatening.
Rescuers stressed that Mount Hood is unpredictable this time of year due to snowmelt, ice fall and rock fall dangers. This is outside the normal climbing season, and summitting Mount Hood is not advised at this time.
The rescued climbers are a married couple from Forest Grove, who requested that their names not be used in news stories after they were published in the initial release from the sheriff’s office.
Photos courtesy the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office: