PMR Rescues Climber from Crevasse on Mount Hood
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
At approximately 3:15 PM (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, PMR rescuers extracted an
injured climber from a crevasse on Oregon's Mount Hood. The subject had
fallen into the thin and deep crack early in the morning during a climb of the
11,239-foot Cascade Range peak.
The subject, a 60-year-old man from California, and his companion were slowly
ascending the South Side of the mountain, near White River Glacier, when the
snow gave way below and he dropped into the 60-foot crevasse. The
accident occurred around the 9,375-foot mark in an area that does not usually
have crevasses at this time of year. However, low spring snows seem to
have changed the timeline for crevasse formation in 2004.
The subject's climbing partner quickly called 9-1-1 for help and summoned
several others in the area. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
mobilized Portland Mountain Rescue and paramedics from the American Medical
Response Reach and Treat (RAT) Team. As rescuers began making their way
to the scene, one of the good samaritan climbers lowered himself into the
crevasse to attend to the injured man as best as possible until others arrived.
Two AMR paramedics were the first professional rescuers to reach the
scene. One descended into the crevasse to begin treating the injured
Shortly thereafter, eight PMR team members arrived carrying a rescue litter and
ropes that would eventually be used to extract the injured man from the icy
crevasse. Several more PMR members arrived within the following hour.
While setting up the hauling systems, the weather deteriorated from sunshine to
low visibility, wind and snow. This would make a direct helicopter
evacuation impossible, so the subject would need to be brought to safety via
Two PMR rescuers entered the crevasse with the litter and prepared the patient
for a trip back to the surface. As rescuers and bystanders hauled on the
rope systems, the litter emerged from the crevasse with the patient safely
The litter was then lowered down 1,000 vertical feet on the snow to a waiting
sno-cat at the top of the Timberline Ski Area. After being loaded into
the vehicle, the injured climber was transported to an ambulance at Timberline
Lodge and eventually to a Oregon 1042nd National Guard Blackhawk helicopter at
a nearby parking lot that had reasonable visibility. The man was
airlifted to a Portland area hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Rigging the rescue litter
Rappelling into the crevasse
Hauling the rescue ropes
The patient and litter
emerge from the crevasse
Lowering the patient
down the mountain
Patient inside the sno-cat
Fourteen Portland Mountain Rescue volunteers left their jobs early on Tuesday
to attend this mission. PMR does not charge for services rendered and is
funded completely thru individual and corporate donations.
The UTM coordinates of the rescue are 10-06-01-886E by 50-24-025N and the
corresponding Latitude/Longitude coordinates are 45°21'51"N by 121°41'56"W.