Despite nature’s beauty, we’re reminded of the dangers of our nation’s mountainous landscape after one climber was recued and another was killed in a fall on Oregon’s Mount Hood. After extensive rescue efforts, one climber was sent to the hosptial while another succumbed to their injuries.
According to the state’s Fox 12, the two climbers’ identities have not yet been revealed. They reportedly fell 200 feet near the top of the Leuthold Couloir, a long, steep chute on the mountain’s west side. The fall took place around 5 p.m. Sunday. Both climbers had sustained injuries during the fall.
One of the climbers was able to dial 911 and had a Garmin inReach to notify an emergency contact. Nevertheless, it took rescue crews a while to reach them. As they waited for help, the outlet reports the pair of climbers endured deep snow as well as potential avalanche conditions. The intense physical conditions combined with strong winds reaching between 50 and 70 miles per hour.
Rescuers Struggle to Recover Mount Hood Climbers
It took several hours for rescue crews to even come near the fallen pair. The first group came within 700 feet of the fallen climbers. This was at 11:40 p.m. Sunday, more than six hours after the initial fall. Further, dangerous climbing conditions prohibited rescuers from reaching the climbers the first time. Even worse, avalanche conditions on Mt. Hood had intensified. While some of the crew turned back, the outlet reports a few remained on the mountain overnight.
Additional rescue attempts via airlift also saw delays as altitude and weather conditions kept things dicey.
Finally, by Monday following daylight, a third team was able to reach the climbers. However, rescuers made a hard decision as they found only one of the victims showing vital signs. They extracted the second climber, who was in critical condition, but were forced to leave the second behind amid ongoing avalanche conditions.
Solo Climber Survives Avalanche Clinging to 400-Foot Wall
While our Oregon climbers suffered a tragic string of events, one solo climber was much luckier.
While scaling the Ribbon in Ouray, Colorado, experienced climber Leland Nisky captured footage of himself as he clung to a 400-foot cliff as an avalanche poured loads and loads of snow over his head. The gut-wrenching video goes on for long seconds, the only thing keeping Leland from death being his strength.
Of the experience, he wrote on Instagram, “This was probably one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve had while solo climbing.”
In speaking with the Daily Mail, he shared what kept him from certain death.
“I knew if I stayed terrified, I probably would die, so I concentrated on controlling my breathing, hugging in tight to the wall to prevent snow buildup on my body, and tucked my head down to breathe a little air bubble.”
In sharing the insane clip to social media, Lisky wrote, “Grateful for years of experience and training in stressful situations to keep me calm and allow me to make it through this freak situation and get back home safe.”