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.