Crews face 'treacherous conditions' on Mt. Hood to rescue remaining climbers
GOVT. CAMP, Ore. – Rescue crews are working through treacherous conditions to rescue at least 7 stranded climbers on Mount Hood, and an overnight storm could bring more snow to the mountain.
Crews were first called out about 10:30 a.m. after a climber fell more than 700 feet from the Hogsback area, located near the summit.
The climber was air-lifted to the hospital by an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter and later pronounced deceased.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office described the conditions on Mount Hood as treacherous, with lots of falling rock and ice in the climbing areas.
Overnight temperatures are below freezing, however, warm daytime conditions cause snow and ice to melt, leading to falling debris.
“The conditions are great for climbing early in the early morning,” said Air Force Major Chris Bernard with the 304th Rescue Squadron. “They typically plan their climbs and get off the mountain before it becomes treacherous.”
KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said the mountain’s snow pack is well-below normal for this time of year, which means there are more exposed glaciers, rocks and crevasses.
Adding to the difficult terrain, forecasters say a storm will bring new snow to the mountain Tuesday night, with anywhere from 3 to 7 inches of accumulation through Wednesday afternoon.
Nearly 40 rescue crews are on the mountain working to ensure the remaining climbers all make it back down safely before a storm moves in early Wednesday morning.
Officials said they believe there are anywhere from 8 to 15 climbers still on the mountain.