Sheriff’s Office Coordinates Rescue of Injured Climber on Mt. Hood


2023-03-16 - Case # 24-005213 - SAR Mission

Photos from rescue mission: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ]

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office managed a multi-team search and rescue mission after a climber fell near the summit of Mt. Hood.

At approximately 4 p.m. Saturday, a 43-year-old woman was descending the popular South Side route on Mt. Hood when she was struck by falling ice and fell.

She sustained injuries that left her unable to move.

Witnesses on the mountain called 9-1-1 and kept the injured climber warm with their own gear for several hours until rescuers arrived.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinators activated a mission, setting up a command post at Timberline Lodge. They deployed American Medical Response (AMR)'s Reach and Treat (RAT) Team and Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR) to perform the rescue and evacuation.

Rescuers secured the patient in a litter and used a complex set of rope systems to move her laterally across the Mt. Hood crater to the Hogsback snow ridge. The patient was then lowered down the upper mountain to the top of the Palmer snowfield. A Timberline snowcat then transported the patient down to the parking lot, arriving at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday, March 17, where an ambulance was waiting to take her to an area hospital.

Agencies and volunteers participating in the rescue effort included Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response (AMR)'s Reach and Treat Team, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.

Paige Baugher of Portland Mountain Rescue offered a debrief and safety message following this successful mission:

"Mt. Hood is not a beginner mountain, especially during warm spells early in the season. Rapid temperature warming can cause rock and ice fall from the steeper upper mountain, which can injure, kill, or knock climbers off their feet, leading to potentially catastrophic falls. PMR urges climbers to pay attention to temperatures and weather conditions -- it's part of the essential preparation for a successful and safe summit and descent. Avoid climbing the upper mountain later in the day when the weather is warm and sunny, as these conditions are conducive to rock and ice fall. Instead, ascend and descend in the early morning, when the upper mountain is not in the sun and temperatures remain well below freezing."

Please reference case #24-005213

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Brian McCall, Public Information Officer
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
Communications Unit