PMR Helps Stranded Climbers to Safety on Mt. Hood
Thursday, January 17, 2002
A small team from Portland Mountain Rescue assisted two climbers to
safety on Mount Hood Thursday morning.
The specially-trained PMR volunteer rescuers, with the assistance of
a Timberline Lodge SnoCat, picked up the two males near the
9,200-foot mark on the mountain. The climbers had spent the
night in a snow cave near the White River Glacier and had begun
their descent shortly after sunrise. The SnoCat transported
the rescued persons and the PMR team back to the safety of the Lodge.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Clackamas (Oregon) County Sheriff alerted PMR
that two males had become stranded near the 9,900-foot mark on Mount
Hood after snow and high winds created white-out conditions. The
climbers had summitted the mountain earlier in the day, but bad weather
engulfed the mountain during the initial portion of their descent. Due to the low
visibility, they apparently wandered on to the edge of White River Glacier,
just East of Triangle Moraine.
The climbers were smart to stop their blind descent and avoid the
dangers of falling into a crevasse on the glacier. However,
calling 9-1-1 may have been a bit premature, as they had good
survival skills and were equipped with a portable stove, fuel and enough
food to last the night. The pair told the Sheriff, via cell phone,
that they were digging a snow cave for the night, which is a proper
response in the harsh weather they were facing.
Due to the extreme weather conditions, the onset of darkness and the
apparently good survival skills of the stranded climbers, a Wednesday
evening rescue mission was not warranted.
The PMR rescue team assembled at 7:00 am at Timberline Lodge for
transportation up the mountain in the Timberline SnoCat. The
rescue party met the climbers just above the Palmer Snowfield shortly
after 8:00 am. Everyone was back at the Lodge before 9:00 am.