PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An injured Idaho climber has been rescued after he fell from the Mt. Hood Hogsback snow ridge and landed in the Devil’s Kitchen fumarole Tuesday night.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report of a fallen climber who had sustained serious injuries on the evening of Jan. 6, 2022.
The climber, 28-year-old George Stevens from Idaho, began the summit with his two friends late Tuesday. According to law enforcement, by the time Stevens and his companions started their descent, the Hogsback snow ridge was frozen over.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s office said that is when Stevens decided to try and snowboard down the icy ridge and ultimately, “slid out of control into the open fumarole a few hundred feet below.”
The group reportedly called 911 for help after they realized Stevens had landed in the rocky cavity of the fumarole and was unable to get himself out due to injuries he had sustained during the incident.
At about midnight, the collaborative rescue team located Stevens before sending a rescuer, clad in a respirator and gas monitors, to extract the injured climber from the gaseous cavity.
The team stabilized Stevens and utilized ropes to guide the climber down the slopes to the Palmer ski lift, where he was later transferred to the Timberline Lodge to wait for an ambulance.
“This was the third rescue on Mt. Hood in only five days,” stated the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office. “Clear skies during the past week have encouraged many people to explore winter conditions high on the mountain. Even on a clear day, however, Mt. Hood’s winter is a severe and unforgiving environment.”
Law enforcement urges climbers to only climb in severe conditions with the proper technical gear and advanced mountaineering skills.
“With short daylight, extreme low temperatures and wind, the mountain remains icy and slick, and gives no margin for error,” the sheriff’s office said. “Over the past week, rescuers have observed climbers on Mt. Hood without appropriate equipment, lacking navigation and mountaineering skills, and generally unprepared for these conditions.”
The Hood River Sheriff’s Office encourages new and inexperienced potential climbers to hire a guide or seek training before attempting a climb.