Portland Mountain Rescue personnel witnessed fall, stayed with patient for hours as complex mission unfolded
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office managed a multi-team search and rescue mission on Saturday, Nov. 25 after a climber fell near the Old Chute, close to the Mt. Hood summit.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, a 36-year old woman from Portland was descending the popular South Side route on Mt. Hood when she slipped, fell several hundred feet, and sustained injuries.
Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR) personnel who were on the mountain as a ready team witnessed her fall and called 911. They were then able to reach the patient, stabilize her, and provide initial medical care.
Shortly thereafter, members of the Hood River Crag Rats arrived to assist.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinators set up a command center at Timberline Lodge. Additional PMR and Crag Rats rescuers assembled at Timberline Lodge and deployed with additional equipment.
Rescuers at the scene kept the patient warm during the seven hours it took to get all the necessary resources to her to transport her safely off the mountain.
Using complex rope systems, rescuers transported the patient in a litter to the Hogsback snow ridge, where she was transferred to a different litter and taken down the mountain to the Timberline parking lot. After arriving at Timberline at approximately 9:30 p.m., she was then transported to an area hospital.
This successful rescue involved personnel from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Mountain Rescue, the Hood River Crag Rats, American Medical Response's Reach and Treat Team, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
Portland Mountain Rescue offered the following post-mission analysis:
Mountain rescue is a technical endeavor that requires numerous skilled rescuers, experienced sheriff’s deputies, coordinated leadership, and dedication to our mountaineering community. Mt. Hood is not a beginner mountain — especially in winter conditions. The short days and lower temperatures mean that the snow tends to be very hard and icy, and the route conditions tend to be much steeper and technical. Also descending the mountain in icy conditions is much more difficult than ascending. Only those with expert mountaineering and ice climbing skills should attempt Mt. Hood in winter, especially when there have been long dry spells with no precipitation. Appropriate and thorough training is critical.
Photos from the mission (courtesy PMR) are linked above.
Sergeant Ross Clemson, Public Information Officer
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office