Fallen skier on Reid Glacier
Saturday, May 06, 2006

On May 6th around 11:00 am, three Portland Mountain Rescue ready team members were approached at the top of the Palmer lift by a skier.  He stated that his party of four had started a ski circumnavigation of Mt Hood early that morning and that one of them had fallen several hundred feet while attempting to cross a steep ice band above the Reid Glacier.  The fallen skier had injured his back, but was thought to be able to climb back up to Illumination Saddle.  The reporting party requested assistance from PMR for the decent from there.

The PMR ready team went to retrieve additional gear, and issued a ‘stand-by’ callout to the rest of the members of PMR.  As the ready team left the Timberline ski area they were joined by two paramedics from the American Medical Response Reach and Treat (RAT) team.  When the reporting party returned to his group, he radioed that the injured skier was unable to move and was waiting with his two other friends on the Reid Glacier.  A full PMR callout was then issued.  The PMR ready team and paramedics on scene were able to reach the patient, stabilized him, and package him in a litter for evacuation.  With the help of the patient’s friends, the team began the long and difficult process of raising the patient using a specialized rope-and-pulley system nearly 1,000 feet to the top of Illumination Saddle. 

While the rescue began in full sunshine and warm temperatures, an approaching storm was visible to the west. With the help of additional PMR rescuers, the patient reached Illumination Saddle as darkness fell and the snowstorm moved in. The first group of rescuers skied down to the lodge with the three members of the party that were mobile. The injured skier was lowered to a waiting snow cat in the ski area and from there was transported to Timberline Lodge and then to an area hospital. 

On peak days of the skiing and climbing seasons, PMR often has a volunteer “ready team” at Timberline Lodge Ski Resort to provide mountain safety education and to be available in the event of an accident.