Many climbers headed up the south side of Mt. Hood on June 4, 2015 to take advantage of good climbing conditions in the early morning. Unfortunately, one climber, a 66 year-old man, fell from high on the Coleman Headwall and came to rest at the top of Hot Rocks on the west side of the Hogsback. Members of his party, including his 17 year-old grandson, descended to his location quickly and found him not breathing. They started CPR, but to no avail.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office contacted PMR at 10:05 a.m. and requested help in evacuating the body. At the same time a group of eight medics from the AMR Reach and Treat Team were conducting a training lower on the mountain. They reached the scene quickly and assessed the situation. One of the AMR medics, who is also PMR rescuer, escorted the rest of the victim’s climbing party down the mountain.
Due to delays associated with construction on Highway 26, PMR rescuers did not arrive at Timberline Lodge until around 1:00 p.m. They packed a litter, ropes and other evacuation gear up the mountain and reached the scene around 3:45 p.m.
Using PMR’s standard low angle rope system, the PMR rescuers and AMR medics lowered the subject down the steepest terrain and then slid him down to the top of the Palmer lift. From there a snow cat carried them to the Timberline Lodge area, where they transferred the subject to the medical examiner.
At this time, PMR does not know whether the subject died from a medical condition and then fell or whether he died from trauma sustained in the fall. Body recoveries are emotionally difficult missions, and we are saddened by this duty. PMR sends its sincere condolences to the climber’s family and friends.