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Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood, others stranded

15 February 2018

A climber who fell 700-1,000 feet and was critically injured on Mount Hood was pronounced dead at a hospital on Tuesday, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

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

More than a half-dozen had been climbing near Mount Hood's peak on Tuesday when they encountered tumbling rocks and falling ice.

"Just physiologically it is really hard to see somebody take such a bad fall and what not, and it really brings home how unsafe the upper mountain can be", said Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue.

Lee said he and the three remaining climbers regrouped and waited for roughly two hours for rescuers to arrive, adding that one woman in the party was shivering and appeared to be suffering from shock.

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Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue said the woman arrived at the Timberline Lodge just before 8 p.m.

Officials said they will release his name and age after they positively identify him and notify family.

Conditions high on the mountain had deteriorated during the morning, causing problems for climbers.

One of the three had suffered minor injuries, and another was having difficulty moving. "At first he was just sliding and right before he disappeared, he started cartwheeling".

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.

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"It is really hard ice conditions due to the weather patterns we've had, so any kind [of fall] on the upper mountain was going to result in a pretty bad fall", he said.

According to the sheriff's office, some of them were being assisted down the mountain. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state also was sending a helicopter to assist the rescue operation.

Mount Hood is 11,239 feet tall and is Oregon's tallest mountain.

Climbers used their cellphones to report that conditions were hazardous and described the falling rocks and ice "like a bowling alley", said Air Force Maj. Four more climbers were stuck, and about 40 rescuers were attempting to reach them all.

The climber wasn't rescued from the mountain until around 1 p.m. when a Black Hawk helicopter was able to make it to the area.

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No other details were immediately available.

Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood, others stranded