PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A man was rescued from the summit of Mt. Hood after his equipment failed while climbing alone just before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two of the rescue teams happened to be relatively close and the rescuer KOIN 6 News that Mt. Hood is very steep and that day, it was very icy. He said if the man had been injured it would have been much harder and taken much longer to get him to safety.

Dr. Christoper Van Tilburg told KOIN 6 that he was climbing the south side of Mt. Hood Saturday morning with three other people when they found themselves in just about the right place at the right time.

“Fortuitously we were near the summit, and prepared for a rescue,” Van Tilburg said. 

Van Tilburg and one of the other climbers, Leif Bergstrom, are both members of the Hood River Crag Rats – the country’s oldest mountain rescue team. 

“We ski, we climb, we hike, we bike, and we’re basically on call 24/7 for mountain rescue missions,” Van Tilburg explained.

He also said let the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office know that he and Bergstrom would be on the mountain that morning.

So, when the sheriff’s office got a report that a 27-year-old climber was stuck at the summit, Van Tilburg got a call.

“It was Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Myers, who’s one of the search and rescue deputies, and he basically said ‘we’ve got a person on the summit in distress’…and that was about all he knew at the time,” Van Tilburg noted.

The sheriff’s office said that climber, Iain Moses from Eugene, reported shortly before 10 a.m. that his equipment was failing and he wasn’t able to climb down the mountain. 

Fortunately, Van Tilburg, Bergstrom and the other climbers with them were only about half an hour from the summit. 

As the four men started making their way to the stranded climber, a team from Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR) wasn’t far behind. 

The sheriff’s office told KOIN 6 that PMR already had two teams on the mountain that morning. The team of Crag Rats found the climber and with the help of PMR, attached a rope to the man and guided him down a steep, icy slope that descends from the 11,250-foot peak. 

“All in all, you know, he was in pretty good shape,” Van Tilburg said.

KOIN 6 News learned the climb down took a couple of hours. Van Tilburg is glad the climber wasn’t hurt, in part, because of the quick response of the rescue crews. 

“If we’re at home or if I get a call right now and I’m talking to you, I mean I’m two hours from responding probably about time I get my gear, get my buddies, get in the car drive to the mountain. So, the fact that 30 minute response time is incredibly quick,” Van Tilburg explained.

Bergstrom noted the importance of being prepared when climbing.

“It’s important to have mountaineering boots, crampons and an ice axe and know how to use them,” Bergstrom said. 

Van Tilburg added that before you decide to take on Mt. Hood “If you’re not skilled in the alpine, go with a guide.”

Officials said this incident follows other recent Crag Rats rescue missions including night missions at Bennet Pass on January 17, another at Barlow Pass in December and a Frog Lake rescue on Christmas Day.

Crag Rats and Portland Mountain Rescue are entirely volunteer, and always need financial support. People can donate to those organizations on their websites.