A climber died and several other people had to be rescued after conditions turned treacherous on Mount Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak.
According to authorities, an unnamed climber fell about 1,000 feet to his death on Tuesday, Feb. 13, after conditions on Mount Hood worsened, and at least seven other climbers were left stranded and in need of rescue, the Daily Mail reports.
The climbers, from two separate groups, had reportedly been climbing near the mountain’s 11,000 foot peak when they encountered tumbling rocks and falling ice, stranding them on the high slopes with just enough food and water to last them a day.
Randy Lee, 44, had been descending the summit shortly before noon when he met a group of climbers who said that their friend had fallen 1,000 feet.
“They said he tumbled. They said it looked like he was doing cartwheels,” Lee said.
Lee stated that one member of the group had successfully descended down to the injured man, but shortly after, another person in the party had fallen several hundred feet. He only suffered minor injuries.
The climbers used their cellphones to report that conditions were hazardous near the Hogsback area by the summit, describing falling rock and ice looking “like a bowling alley.” A rescue team consisting of more than 40 people had to use a helicopter and a ground team to reach the stranded climbers, a winter storm expected to roll through Wednesday making the rescue mission even more time-sensitive.
When rescuers arrived, the man who had fallen was bleeding and had suffered injuries to his face. They reported that he was having difficulty breathing.
The man was airlifted to a hospital in Portland where he was pronounced dead.
Rescuers had to use a sled and a rope system to assist another woman down the mountain who was unable to move. The remainder of the climbers were able to slowly make their way down the mountain.
Mount Hood is notorious for loose ice and falling rocks and has seen multiple injuries and fatalities. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 climbers attempt to scale the mountain each year.