Climber dies after fall on Mount Hood, rescuers reach others stranded

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A climber who fell on Mount Hood in Oregon Tuesday has died, officials said, and rescuers have reached other climbers who were stranded amid poor and dangerous conditions.

The climber, who was not identified, fell between 700 to 1,000 feet into the Hogsback area, which is at an elevation of around 10,500 feet, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and NBC affiliate KGW of Portland.

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The climber was pronounced dead upon arrival at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, the sheriff’s office said. A Black Hawk helicopter from the Oregon National Guard airlifted the man.

Rescuers reached other stranded climbers and were attaching a line to help get them to safety, the sheriff’s office said on Twitter just before 4:40 p.m. local time (7:40 p.m. ET).

The call of a fallen climber was received at around 10:30 a.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jensen said, and other climbers went to his aid. Rescue efforts were continuing for other climbers on the mountain, which has a summit of 11,240 feet and is the state’s highest peak.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said that the injured climber was on the way up to the summit without ropes when he fell, KGW reported.

There were another group of four climbers stranded on Hogsback, and another three to four climbers who were above them and were going through the hazardous conditions making their way down to Hogsback, Jensen said.

One of the climbers in the lower group was injured, but the injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, he said.

The group of stranded climbers was in contact with officials and are safe, Jensen said, “however, the ascent and descent from that location they describe as severely hazardous with falling rock and falling ice.”

Four of the stranded climbers were being assisted by rescuers down the mountain, and three other climbers were making their way down without assistance, the sheriff’s office said. The group of three climbers reached a lodge via a snowcat vehicle Tuesday night, the sheriff’s office said on Twitter shortly before 7 p.m.

Major Chris Bernard of the 304th rescue squadron out of Portland said 14 rescue specialists were sent to the mountain, in conjunction with other groups. Portland Mountain Rescue sent 13 climbers on their way up, the sheriff’s office said.

Rough weather is expected for the area at around 1 a.m., with rain, snow and winds, Jensen said. “We are trying to do everything we can to get everyone down safely before that weather hits us,” Jensen said.

Scott Lucas, head of search and rescue for the state emergency management agency, said that the man who fell couldn’t stop his fall and fell to the Hogsback area.

Image: A rescue operation on Mount Hood in northern Oregon

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