PMR Evacuates Injured Climber in Fall from Mazama Chute Route
May 17, 2009

Early morning Saturday, May 17th 2009, a 54 year-old male fell while traversing high on the headwall of Mount Hood's Coalman Glacier, just below the cliffs between the Hogsback and the Old Chute. The man came to rest in the depression just west of the Hogsback -a fall of approximately 400 feet. His climbing companions reported that he stepped on weak snow that gave way causing his fall. A nearby Portland Mountain Rescue volunteer witnessed the accident and placed a call to 911.

The injured climber was unconscious for 15 to 20 minutes after his fall. Initial efforts by the climbers on scene were focused on C-Spine stabilization, moving the subject out of danger from falling ice, and making him as comfortable as possible.

Clackamas County Sheriffs Office activated Portland Mountain Rescue and all rescuers met at Timberline Lodge. With assistance from Timberline Lodge snow cats, PMR rescuers and AMR RAT teams were able to quickly reach the injured man, package him in a litter and lower him down to the base of Crater Rock. There the patient was loaded into a snow cat and taken down to Timberline Lodge where he was transferred to a National Guard Blackhawk and airlifted to OHSU.

Upon arrival at OHSU, the man was diagnosed with fractures of C1 and C2 vertebrae, either of which could have had fatal consequences, as well as serious facial injuries. The initial responders did an excellent job of caring for and protecting this man from further injuries.