PMR Rescues 19-Year-Old Climber on Mount Hood
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2005
Late Tuesday evening, the Clackamas County (OR) Sheriff's Office activated Portland Mountain Rescue to search for a mountaineer who was overdue from a climb attempt of Mount Hood.
The 19-year-old man evidently began his summit attempt on Monday, camped high on the mountain Tuesday afternoon and continued climbing through Tuesday evening and into early Wednesday morning.  However, prior to his climb, the man informed at least two acquaintances that he'd be returning to the Timberline Lodge area by late Tuesday afternoon. When the climber's car was spotted in the Lodge parking lot on Tuesday afternoon, one of the acquaintances contacted authorities.  Following an investigation, the Sheriff's Deputy declared a rescue mission.
At 1:00 AM on Wednesday, 11 PMR members split into three teams and ascended the 11,239-foot mountain in a Timberline sno-cat to begin their search for the subject.  On skis and on foot, team members made their way up several routes on the South Side of the volcano and eventually spotted the missing climber's headlamp on the Hogsback Ridge near 10,700 feet.  Once informed of the situation, the climber returned to Timberline Lodge with the PMR rescue teams.  He was not injured.
A key driver for this mission was a lack of clear communication on the climber's route and when he would return to the Timberline Lodge parking lot.  It is not sufficient for a climber to simply inform a passing acquaintance of their intentions.  The best way to communicate climbing route, return time, available equipment and how long he/she are equipped to safely stay in the wilderness, is to complete a registration form at the Wy'East Day Lodge Climber's Register next to the Timberline Ski Area ticket booth.
Registration forms allow the Sheriff to determine if a rescue mission is truly necessary or if an experienced climber with plenty of equipment may have just been delayed in their return.  Other key pieces of information on the form include, emergency contact, cell phone number, vehicle identification and - most importantly - planned climbing route. This information may help rescuers locate missing climbers more quickly than those climbers who did not complete a form.
PMR encourages all Mount Hood climbers to complete a registration form prior to their climb and to sign out on the form when they safely return from their trek.