Oregon’s Mount Hood is seen from Timberline Lodge on the south side of the mountain, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.
One climber fell to his death and several others had to be rescued after conditions turned treacherous on Oregon’s tallest peak.
We only have vague information about what happened on the mountain yesterday. We only just learned that the man that died was named Miha Sumi, and that he was from Portland. We’ll never know how he would have felt about his death being live-streamed on the internet. At one point on the video, his friends did chest compressions and waved a space blanket as if signaling for help, but the rescue helicopters come from farther away than the news helicopters, so the only aircraft on scene was loaded with cameras, sending pictures to me on my couch—it felt just as disrespectful to watch as it did to look away.
More than a half-dozen people had been climbing near Mount Hood’s peak when a climber fell about 1,000 feet, said Sgt. Brian Jensen, a Clackamas County sheriff’s office spokesman.
"One of the guys slipped," said climber Quinn Talley of Welches, Oregon, who had been descending after summiting Tuesday morning. "At first he was just sliding and right before he disappeared, he started cartwheeling."
Talley, who said he’s climbed the mountain about 20 times and has never seen worse conditions, said he tried to reach the man, but the ice was too dangerous.
Deputies ID climber who died following fall from Mt. Hood Tuesday
"Normally, you like a frozen crust on snow so your crampons don’t ball up with snow, but this is different," Talley said. "With the rain and freeze cycles, there’s something called rime ice … and it’s really loose and normally it’s just fluffy. But these were like dinner plates, hard ice dinner plates."
KOIN-TV reported that video taken from a helicopter showed other climbers performing CPR on the man before he was airlifted by an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter to a hospital. He was later declared dead. Authorities have not released his identity.
One Climber Has Died and Seven Others Have Been Rescued on Oregon’s Mount Hood
Mount Hood, a peak notorious for loose ice and rocks in warm weather, is a popular climbing site that has seen dozens of accidents and fatalities over the years. Thousands climb it each year, mostly in the spring.
The sun has been out this week and the temperature was around freezing at the spot where the climber fell, said Russell Gubele of Mountain Wave Search and Rescue.
"This is the kind of weather conditions and the time of year where you often get falling ice, falling rocks and problems," Gubele said. "It sounds like the conditions up there are very unsafe right now."
Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Miha Sumi. Thanks to all the search groups for their tremendous work on this complex search-and-rescue mission. Every SAR mission is a team effort requiring help and careful coordination from teams of dedicated first-response partners and volunteers.
Climbers used their cellphones to report that conditions were hazardous and described the falling rocks and ice "like a bowling alley," said Air Force Maj. Chris Bernard of the 304th Rescue Squadron.
Climber Dies After Fall on Mt. Hood, Others Rescued
The stuck climbers were on or near the Hogsback area near the summit of the 11,240-foot (3,429-meter) mountain east of Portland.
Rescuers made it up to the other climbers Tuesday afternoon at 10,500-foot (3,200-meter) elevation and assessed them before starting down the mountain.
Two climbers who were in the same party as the man who fell were guided down the mountain to a snow tractor, which took them to Timberline Lodge at 6,000 feet (1829 meters). Rescuers used a sled and a rope system to bring down a woman in the party who said she was unable to move.
Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue said the woman arrived at the Timberline Lodge just before 8 p.m.
Crews were eventually able to reach the rest of Sumi’s climbing party and help them come down the mountain. One of the climbers became unable to move, but crews were able to lower her down using a rope system.
"It was very hard to move under these types of conditions and she was very brave and very stoic during her evacuation," he said of the woman who was rescued, adding that she was able to get out of the snow tractor under her own power.
Three other climbers made their way down the mountain without assistance, according to the sheriff’s office.
Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood; several others rescued
Wyatt Peck, 26, said he started to go up the mountain Tuesday, but turned around. He said the conditions were so treacherous that he and a friend could not get their pickaxes and crampons into the snow that was melting from a hard freeze overnight.
Peck said others in his climbing group continued, and he was concerned that they were among those stranded.
"I saw like I said a lot of people were struggling traversing," he said. "I think they just got to the summit and were so exhausted they didn’t know what to do to get back down — and that’s the hardest part, to get back down."
"The mountain’s always going to be there — your life’s not worth it." he said.
DuBois reported from Portland, Oregon. AP writer Lisa Baumann contributed to this report from Seattle.
UPDATE: All climbers are down from Mt. Hood, including 1 fatality
More than a half-dozen people had been climbing near Mount Hood\’s peak when a climber fell about 1,000 feet, said Sgt. Brian Jensen, a Clackamas County sheriff\’s office…
At Mount Rainier National Park, there are 12 to 14 climbing rangers, some seasonal. During the peak climbing season that begins in mid-May, there are seven rangers at any given time on the upper mountain, said Stefan Lofgren, climbing program ranger.
Authorities have identified the Mount Hood climber who died after falling at least 700 feet Tuesday morning as a 35-year-old Portland man.
Miha Sumi was airlifted from the mountain and declared dead upon arrival at a Portland hospital, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He reportedly slipped on ice, failed to self-arrest and tumbled about 700 to 1,000 feet in the mountain’s Hogsback area, which is near the summit.
Self-arresting is a mountaineering term used to describe stopping a fall, generally with an ice axe. The climbers reportedly had mid-level experience and were outfitted with appropriate gear that included ice axes, crampons and helmets, according to the sheriff’s office.
Conditions high on the mountain had deteriorated during the morning Tuesday, causing problems for climbers. Several were rescued and brought to Timberline Lodge, which is lower on the mountain.
One of the climbers in Sumi’s four-person group, 36-year-old Chatchay Thongthap, called 911 and rescuers descended on the mountain.
Another climber reached Sumi and started doing CPR. Several other climbers also aided Sumi, and CPR was performed on him for about 90 minutes.
Thongthap and the rest of Sumi’s party sheltered where they were on the Hogsback because of treacherous conditions. Emergency dispatchers repeatedly lost communication with them.
A Blackhawk helicopter crew from Salem arrived on the mountain, and a paramedic loaded Sumi into a litter. He was flown to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center but was declared dead upon arrival.
Rescuers laid ropes that allowed climbers to descend the mountain safely, and they began to do so. But one of the climbers — Kimberly Anderson, 32, of Beaverton — became immobile. The rest of her group — Thongthap and Matt Zovrtink — continued down the mountain while she was secured in a sled and taken down the mountain using rope systems.
Thongthap and Zovrtink met a snow tractor and were shuttled down to Timberline Lodge. Anderson later arrived at the lodge in a tractor, as well.
The rescue took much of the day. Thongthap, Zovrtink and Anderson arrived at the lodge in the dark.
Sumi’s death is the fifth resulting from a Mount Hood accident in the past year.
Two young women fell while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail near Lost Creek in August, a climber fell 600 feet in May and a skier hit a tree at Mt. Hood Meadows in March, according to a history of fatal accidents on the mountain compiled by The Oregonian/OregonLive.
“Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Miha Sumi,” Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a statement. “Thanks to all the search groups for their tremendous work on this complex search-and-rescue mission. Every (search and rescue) mission is a team effort requiring help and careful coordination from teams of dedicated first-response partners and volunteers.”
Sumi was a Business Intelligence Manager at Jet Reports, according to his LinkedIn profile. He attended the University of Ljubljana, which is in Slovenia, according to the profile.