Spokane Man Dies Following 500-Foot Fall on Mount Hood

A climber from Spokane, Wash., was found dead after suffering an estimated 500-foot fall on Mount Hood Sunday morning.

The man was identified on Wednesday as 63-year-old Patrick Michael Stretch. He was descending Mount Hood with his adult son when he fell near a popular route on the southern slope known as the Old Chute.

Search and Rescue team members with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office responded and established a post at Timberline Lodge. It received assistance from Portland Mountain Rescue, the Hood River Crag Rats and American Medical Response’s Reach and Treat Team.

A member of Portland Mountain Rescue and a member of the Crag Rats were on Mount Hood when the accident happened and began making their way to the scene.

Rescuers navigated difficult terrain and hazards posed by hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases venting from fumaroles along the route as they made their way to the accident scene.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., the first teams made contact with witnesses before locating the fallen climber. They made their way down to Stretch by setting up rope systems, while also checking toxic-gas levels to ensure rescuers could safely reach the subject.

After reaching Stretch, rescuers made the sad determination that he was dead. The rescue mission then became a recovery mission.

The weekend was an unusually busy one for climbing on Mount Hood, officials said. Portland Mountain Rescue offered a safety message for those climbing the mountain this week: Warm weather at this time of year can create very unstable conditions on the mountain, including falling ice.

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