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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:13 pm 
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Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood, rescuers reach others stranded

by Phil Helsel and David Douglas

A climber who fell on Mount Hood in Oregon Tuesday has died, officials said, and rescuers have reached other climbers who were stranded amid poor and dangerous conditions.

The climber, who was not identified, fell between 700 to 1,000 feet into the Hogsback area, which is at an elevation of around 10,500 feet, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and NBC affiliate KGW of Portland.

The climber was pronounced dead upon arrival at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, the sheriff's office said. A Black Hawk helicopter from the Oregon National Guard airlifted the man.

Rescuers reached other stranded climbers and were attaching a line to help get them to safety, the sheriff’s office said on Twitter just before 4:40 p.m. local time (7:40 p.m. ET).

The call of a fallen climber was received at around 10:30 a.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jensen said, and other climbers went to his aid. Rescue efforts were continuing for other climbers on the mountain, which has a summit of 11,240 feet and is the state's highest peak.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said that the injured climber was on the way up to the summit without ropes when he fell, KGW reported.

There were another group of four climbers stranded on Hogsback, and another three to four climbers who were above them and were going through the hazardous conditions making their way down to Hogsback, Jensen said.

One of the climbers in the lower group was injured, but the injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, he said.

The group of stranded climbers was in contact with officials and are safe, Jensen said, "however, the ascent and descent from that location they describe as severely hazardous with falling rock and falling ice.”

Four of the stranded climbers were being assisted by rescuers down the mountain, and three other climbers were making their way down without assistance, the sheriff’s office said. The group of three climbers reached a lodge via a snowcat vehicle Tuesday night, the sheriff's office said on Twitter shortly before 7 p.m.

Major Chris Bernard of the 304th rescue squadron out of Portland said 14 rescue specialists were sent to the mountain, in conjunction with other groups. Portland Mountain Rescue sent 13 climbers on their way up, the sheriff’s office said.

Rough weather is expected for the area at around 1 a.m., with rain, snow and winds, Jensen said. "We are trying to do everything we can to get everyone down safely before that weather hits us," Jensen said.

Scott Lucas, head of search and rescue for the state emergency management agency, said that the man who fell couldn’t stop his fall and fell to the Hogsback area.
Image: A rescue operation on Mount Hood in northern Oregon
A rescue operation on Mount Hood in northern Oregon on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. KGW8 News

The route which is generally the one taken to the summit and is the most dangerous area on the mountain, Lucas said. He said that when people get hurt, "they generally slip trying to summit, and end up back in the Hogsback area,” which is what happened Tuesday.

The mountain, a dormant volcano, attracts more than 10,000 climbers a year but the normal climbing season is from April to mid-June, according to the U.S. Forest Service. There’s about one fatality on the mountain per year, according to the Forest Service.

Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue told KGW that Hogsback is the most popular climbing route on the mountain.

"Hogsback is a steep spine that goes from the crater of the volcano up toward the summit, approximately 800 feet in length," Rollins told the station.

A climber on the mountain Tuesday who turned back described conditions on the mountain as “terrible.”

"You had ice axes and crampons and you couldn’t get secure foot in your holds," Wyatt Peck, 26, or Portland, told reporters, adding that there was a layer of ice on top of another layer and that made getting holds difficult. "If you were to slip and fall, you couldn't dig your axe in and stop yourself," he said.

"This is the worst climbing day I’ve experienced for sure, condition wise," Peck said.

Mount Hood National Forest is east of Portland.

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/airplane-mode/jet-loses-engine-covering-midair-horrified-passengers-watch-n847816
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 pm 
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FB exchange regarding the 7-32 "stranded" climbers:

Quote:
Randy Lee: Where are they getting "seven stranded"? I was onsite up there today. There were three of the fallen victim's friends on the Hog's Back. One had minor injuries from a lesser fall. If you count all of them as "stranded" that still only totals 3. Where are the other 4?

Jason Schmidt: Maybe the ones helping the fallen climber? The news was wrong on so many accounts today.

Randy Lee: So I was stranded? After the rescuers arrived, I left them and walked down the mountain on my own.

Jason Schmidt: Randy Lee at one point they were saying 32 stranded. I’m sure that was just how many climbed today from counting the reg forms.

Randy Lee: Yes, I would guess about 30 climbed today. Most were off the Hog's back by 9am, and most of the others after that turned around due to the deteriorating conditions.

Ian Petersen: Probably 7 is the number they counted on the mountain from the chopper?
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cascadeclimber
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 9:23 pm 
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Just_Some_Hiker wrote:
FB exchange regarding the 7-32 "stranded" climbers:

Quote:
Randy Lee: Where are they getting "seven stranded"? I was onsite up there today. There were three of the fallen victim's friends on the Hog's Back. One had minor injuries from a lesser fall. If you count all of them as "stranded" that still only totals 3. Where are the other 4?

Jason Schmidt: Maybe the ones helping the fallen climber? The news was wrong on so many accounts today.

Randy Lee: So I was stranded? After the rescuers arrived, I left them and walked down the mountain on my own.

Jason Schmidt: Randy Lee at one point they were saying 32 stranded. I’m sure that was just how many climbed today from counting the reg forms.

Randy Lee: Yes, I would guess about 30 climbed today. Most were off the Hog's back by 9am, and most of the others after that turned around due to the deteriorating conditions.

Ian Petersen: Probably 7 is the number they counted on the mountain from the chopper?


I'm old enough to remember when integrity and accuracy where the two most valued attributes of the news media. What it's become is a half-step above a teen-angst fueled reddit thread. Climbing incidents seem to be particularly prone to wildly inaccurate 'facts'.

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Pahoehoe
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 9:49 pm 
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cascadeclimber wrote:
I'm old enough to remember when integrity and accuracy where the two most valued attributes of the news media. What it's become is a half-step above a teen-angst fueled reddit thread. Climbing incidents seem to be particularly prone to wildly inaccurate 'facts'.

You just remember when there wasn't the internet and social media and 20 different local sources to compare facts from...or messageboards to discuss it on.
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 10:06 pm 
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Media coverage of climbing accidents has always been crap. Between confusing hikers and climbers and "he died doing what he loved" the coverage has always been superficial and inaccurate. Anyone who has been involved in an emergency or rescue organizations can confirm, same as it ever was. rant.gif

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rbuzby
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PostWed Feb 14, 2018 9:15 am 
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Seems like a lot of climbing is scheduled in advance around vacation time and other considerations, so when the time to go comes, you just go, you don't think of not going because of the conditions.
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DadFly
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PostWed Feb 14, 2018 10:16 am 
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Take a basic climbing course.
Randomly extract terms and concepts.
Apply to current incident.
Post as news.
At least it is not intentionally inaccurate. Just focused on what will sell.

Reminds me of an ad I saw recently about insurance(?).
It showed a guy belaying from above using hand-over-hand without any kind of friction device.
The climber was wearing a full size frame pack from the 80's.
Such a cute understanding of the sport.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 7:59 am 
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rbuzby wrote:
Seems like a lot of climbing is scheduled in advance around vacation time and other considerations, so when the time to go comes, you just go, you don't think of not going because of the conditions.

This and if a permit has to be competed for, or gotten in advance.  It would make it hard to consider cancelling.

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cartman
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 12:01 pm 
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The media wants body counts to make the news sound more interesting.  The more "stranded" climbers they can make up, the more sensational the news sounds, the more listeners tune in, and the more advertising dollars are brought in.

Remember the 2002 earthquake here in Seattle?  There were no fatalities due to the quake and one could detect the frustration in the coverage due to no body count.  Then they found out an older fellow had died and you could hear them falling all over themselves to report it.

Turns out the guy died of a heart attack.
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joker
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 1:19 pm 
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My guess is that the rescuers felt some  responsibility  to  ensure  that the  other  climbers still up in that area also  got down  safely, and  somehow relayed this  notion  to  the  media. The media tends to  transmogrify such statements to simplify them and also to enhance the drama of their stories (this used to be more true of TV news than of newspapers but I think the need for "clickbait" has made them all aggressive about such  things lately). I suspect that reporters often do this w/o intent to mislead, but rather because they don't actually entirely understand what people like SAR teams, police, or firemen are saying to them.
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Yana
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 1:28 pm 
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joker wrote:
somehow relayed this  notion  to  the  media

Yes, "somehow relayed" is likely via radio. Media outlets routinely listen to law enforcement/SAR/EMS radio traffic. Media takes what little bits they get from that, and that's how the story often emerges, especially with "breaking" news (as opposed to pre planned pieces where there is built in time for more thorough research).

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joker
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Makes sense. I can tell you,  though,  that  even in cases where interviews are done that  reporters quite often transmogrify what they heard in  likely unintentional  but nonetheless unfortunate ways (my experience with this is more in  a business context but I can't see why the problem wouldn't occur here too).
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RandyHiker
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 8:46 pm 
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I've never climbed Hood, I recall hearing about an incident in the '70s where a rope team fell near to top and "swept" many other climbers off the slope.  After that I lost interest-- at least anything involving the standard route.
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostThu Feb 15, 2018 11:09 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
I've never climbed Hood, I recall hearing about an incident in the '70s where a rope team fell near to top and "swept" many other climbers off the slope.  After that I lost interest-- at least anything involving the standard route.

There's at least one or two deaths a year, it seems. In the early 2000s an entire Mazama rope team was swept down the mountain by an avalanche. Then there was the famous helicopter incident:

https://youtu.be/IEbMJuyRnHc
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DIYSteve
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PostFri Feb 16, 2018 8:07 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
an incident in the '70s where a rope team fell near to top and "swept" many other climbers off the slope

That has happened more than once, e.g., 2002, when a rope team slid into a crevasse and the rescue helicopter crashed. ETA: See JSH's linky

When we climbed Hood 30 years ago, most rope teams were traversing across an icy exposed spot with no pro, basically a mutual suicide pact. We nailed in some screws and pickets and did a running belay, which IME is what most experienced climbing parties would do on any other climb. I was stumped to see other parties scurrying across that icy exposure without pro. It would have been easy for an advance team to place pro for every team to clip into.
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