PORTLAND, OR (CBSMiami) — A climber was killed yesterday after falling hundreds of feet down Mount Hood – a mountain more than 10,000 feet above the Pacific Northwest.
The unidentified climber slid some seven 700 feet down the face of the mountain Tuesday morning.
“He was just coming down the mountain and some snow or ice broke loose under his feet, and he started to fall,” said Phil Cole with the Air Force Rescue Team.
He was able to use his axe to slow his fall for about 100 feet.
“Then after that, he just lost his hold and fell another, however many, five, six hundred feet,” said Cole.
The climber was airlifted by a Blackhawk helicopter to a medical center where he was declared dead. He was part of a team of four climbers.
They were stranded in a climbing route known as “Hogsback,” more than 10,000 feet up the mountain.
A crew of at least forty assisted in the rescue effort. One says, with the falling rock and ice, it felt like being in “a bowling alley.”
“The conditions up here are bad for hikers, climbers and quite frankly rescuers as well,” said Brian Jensen with the Clakamas County Sheriff’s Office.
It took eight hours for rescuers to bring two other men in the group to safety.
The fourth climber was rescued by sled. Authorities say she suffered no severe physical injuries but was apparently too distraught by her teammate’s death to climb down unassisted. She was later able to walk off the rescue vehicle on her own.
“From what I understand, like, that was kind of her climbing mentor. So they had done a lot of climbing together. So a very, very personal situation for her,” said Cole.
Another group of three hikers was caught on the mountain as well, but they were unharmed and were able to make it to safety with the help of rescuers.
According to the Oregonian newspaper, some ten thousand people climb Mount Hood every year. There have been more than 100 deaths, four in 2017 alone.