California Climber Dies, Others Injured During ‘Very Tough Conditions’ at Mount Shasta

by TK Sanders

One climber died and several others sustained injuries during a dangerous climbing day Monday on Mount Shasta in Northern California. Over the course of several hours, rescuers responded to three different incidents on the mountain near the Oregon border.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said the fatal incident involved three climbers attempting to traverse Avalanche Gulch, a snowy glacier climb known for its danger and difficulty. The office also said that the one climber who died did so before rescue efforts could even begin. A second climber is in the hospital in critical condition, while the third is stable and recovering from a broken ankle.

A few hours later, rescuers responded to the same part of the mountain for another incident in which a climber needed an airlift. The climber is also alive but in critical condition, Fox News reports.

And a few hours after that, rescuers airlifted yet another climber with injuries to the hospital. It was the fifth climber rescued in a single day for the search teams at Mount Shasta.

Wallace Casper, a climber from Bozeman, Montana, described the conditions as “very tough” that day on the mountain. Casper said a lot of climbers were slipping due to a layer of water ice on top of the snowpack. The conditions make it “pretty much impossible to self-arrest” as a skier, he pointed out.

Mount Shasta has an elevation of 14,179 feet and is a major peak of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest.

North of Mount Shasta in Alaska, multiple climbers died at Denali National Park last month

In May alone, three different climbers in unrelated groups all died on Denali Mountain within weeks of each other. A 48-year-old New Jersey man collapsed on the mountain from heart failure in high elevations most recently. His mountain guides immediately began trying to resuscitate Birman with CPR; but he never began breathing again. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Weeks before, a 43-year-old Japanese man died on Denali after falling through an ice bridge into a crevasse. The man was only about 8,000 feet up the mountain (Denali summits over 20,000 feet). He was on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier when the ice bridge collapsed.

“The climber is presumed dead based on the volume of ice, the distance of the fall and the duration of the burial. The feasibility of a body recovery will be investigated in the days ahead,” the park’s statement said.

And finally, also in May, a 350-year-old Australian climber died on a notorious part of the mountain. Matthias Rimml “likely fell on the steep traverse between Denali Pass at 18,200 feet and the 17,200-foot plateau,” the park said previously after the incident. At least 12 other climbers fell and died in the same stretch over the years, the National Park Service added.