American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow—Dislodged Rock, Failure to Test Holds, Poor Position, Climbing Unroped and Alone, Oregon, Mount Hood, South Side

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2005

FALL ON SNOW-DISLODGED ROCK, FAILURE TO TEST HOLDS, POOR POSITION, CLIMBING UNROPED AND ALONE

Oregon, Mount Hood, South Side

While ascending the Hogsback on Mount Hood’s South Side route on September 30, Patrick Marcuson (63) dislodged rotten rock, causing him

to slide about 200 feet, flying over the bergschrund. Despite losing his ice ax, he stopped sliding before reaching the fumarole. He dragged himself up to the safety of the Hogsback. He had fractured his leg. Unsuccessful in attracting attention, he lowered himself about 1,000 feet to a remnant structure where he splinted his leg using abandoned timbers. He survived the night under a tarp and made voice contact with two climbers the next morning, who notified authorities. Portland Mountain Rescue lowered him in a litter about 1,000 feet to a waiting snowcat.

Analysis

Late season climbs on exposed volcanic rock are predictably hazardous. Solo climbers must be particularly self-reliant on communicating their situation (signaling devices, radios, alert by family or friends when overdue, etc). It is worth noting that Marcuson was able to keep his crampons off the snow surface during his slide, thus preventing a tumbling fall. (Source: From a report by Jeff Sheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)

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