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Fall on Snow, Climbing Unroped, Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside


Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside

On July 5, Erik Heerlein (35), a climber from South Carolina, fell approximately 200 feet while descending the Mazama Chute variation (10,500-foot elevation) of the Southside Route. His unroped team members included an M.D. and a paramedic. They were able to report the accident via cellphone and provide emergency medical aid. Heerlein struck his head (some protection was provided by a bicycle helmet) and lost consciousness during the fall. He was transported to a local hospital by a Blackhawk helicopter.


Although this route is often climbed unroped during normal conditions, the exposure provides ample opportunity for injury during a fall. The security provided by the rope should always be considered. The helmet likely minimized the head injury. Having an M.D. and paramedic in one’s party is always good fortune. (Source: Jeff Sheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)