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Fall on Snow, Unable to Self-Arrest, Climbing Alone, Exceeding Abilities, Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside

FALL ON SNOW, UNABLE TO SELF-ARREST, CLIMBING ALONE, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside

On October 19, Chris Biddle (30), a novice climber, lost his footing at 10,900-foot elevation while descending the Southside Route. Unable to self-arrest he slid about 300 feet. A nearby climber who witnessed the fall reported his accident via cell phone. The witness and another climber were able to stabilize Biddle until a PMR ground team (supplemented by AMR Reach-and-Treat medics) climbed to the accident sites. The subject was air-evacuated by a Blackhawk helicopter to a local hospital.

Analysis

Late season conditions (normal in October!) existed on the route making the novice climb technically difficult. Biddle later admitted that he had gone beyond his abilities to travel safely on the icy terrain. Without the support of a rope team, a novice solo climber takes great risks on technical terrain. (Source: Jeff Sheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)