63-year-old man dies in 500-foot fall while climbing Mount Hood

Oregon authorities announced Sunday that a 63-year-old climber who was seen falling an estimated 500 feet during his descent on Mount Hood was found dead. 

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that the department’s Search & Rescue team “immediately responded” to 911 calls about a climber who had reportedly fallen as he was descending the mountain with his adult son along one of the climbing routes at an elevation of roughly 10,500 feet. 

The sheriff’s office set up a command post from a nearby lodge and organized a search with the help of Portland Mountain Rescue, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and other local rescue groups, according to the release. 

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Authorities said they eventually made sight of the fallen climber, who they noted “was unmoving.” 

After setting up rope systems, the rescue team was able to make it to the man while also checking toxic-gas levels to “ensure rescuers could safely reach the subject,” the sheriff’s office said. 

Upon reaching the man, rescuers confirmed he had died. 

The office said that the recovery team then loaded the body onto a “skiable rescue litter basket,” and transported the man down the mountain toward the command post at Timberline Lodge. 

The sheriff’s office said it would not release the name of the victim until his family was notified. 

Sheriff’s deputies noted that Memorial Day weekend has been an “unusually busy” one at Mount Hood, the potentially active stratovolcano located more than 70 miles east of Portland. 

The press release also included a message from Portland Mountain Rescue, which told climbers that “Warm weather at this time of year can create very unstable conditions on this area of Mt. Hood, including falling ice.”

“The addition of many climbers of varying skill levels can add additional hazards,” the organization said. “Exercise caution while climbing Mt. Hood this weekend.”