AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Fall on Frozen Scree, Fall Into Crevasse, Failure to Follow Route, Climbing Alone, Inadequate Clothing and Equipment, Inexperience, Oregon, Mount Hood, South Side and Cathedral Ridge

FALL ON FROZEN SCREE, FALL INTO CREVASSE, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, CLIMBING ALONE, INADEQUATE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, INEXPERIENCE

Oregon, Mount Hood, South Side and Cathedral Ridge

In late August, Bob Considine (38) was visiting Oregon from Missouri. He had a guidebook and intended to climb the “Sunshine” route on Mount Hood. He parked his truck at Cooper Spur Ski Area and hiked up to the stone hut above Cloud Cap, spending two nights there waiting for the weather to clear.

On Saturday morning he crossed the Elliot Glacier and headed up the Snow Dome until he got stuck in the crevasses below Anderson Rock. He then descended back to the top of Snow Dome and spent the night. On Sunday he traversed and ascended until he made Cathedral Ridge, using a “big Bowie knife” to cut steps in the ice, then followed the ridge to the summit where he set up camp.

On the summit he used his guidebook to discern a route down the Southside of the mountain. Unfortunately he picked the wrong gully for his descent, instead doing a variation of the Steel Cliff that comes out just above the Devils Kitchen. He stated he thought he had “messed up” when he saw the Devils Kitchen, but he did not want to ascend back to the summit, so he kept descending off of the snow and on to a scree slope where he fell, ending up in a small crevasse above the Devils Kitchen. He explained he was able to crawl out of the crevasse and from there it looked best to him if he descended the east side of the White River Glacier. He then hobbled and slid from about 10,200 feet down to 8,900 feet.

Upon hearing voices on the west rim of the glacier, he called up for help. A passing hiker/skier made the initial contact and then contacted a ski resort groomer who was able to get a call out for a mountain rescue.

Analysis

Mr. Considine had some experience climbing in the Rockies, but never on a glacier. He attempted the climb without the use of crampons, an ice ax, mountaineering boots, or a helmet. He was climbing on a glacier and steep ice without the proper tools or knowledge for a safe ascent.

Mount Hood is notorious for poor rock and is extremely prone to rock fall during the summer months. In fact, Mr. Considine stated that at one point during his ascent, a microwave-sized boulder went flying by. It is for this reason that climbing Mount Hood during the summer months or when the loose rock is not firmly frozen together is not recommended.

Mount Hood summit climbers are requested to complete a registration form and a Wilderness Permit located in the Climbers’ Register in Timberline Lodge. The Climbers’ registration form provides rescue crews with important information in the event that a rescue is needed. (Source: Robert Speik and The Oregonian, date unknown,)

(Editor’s Note: This is another example of a hiker trying to become a climber. He was lucky to have been rescued. As Sgt. Nick Watt said, “He’s the kind of guy when he gets down and out of the hospital, he ought to play the lottery. ”)