Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
Rescue climbers assisted by a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the Oregon Army National Guard managed to find and save 59-year-old Michael Adams of Tualatin after he slipped on the ice and fell several hundred feet down into a fumarole on Mount Hood on Saturday, May 24.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office began receiving reports of a fallen climber near the Hogsback at 10,000 feet on the south side of Mount Hood at about 8:45 am Saturday, May 24. It was a busy holiday weekend for climbing Mount Hood, and other climbers nearby were able to communicate with the climber who fell. He was injured and unable to climb back out from the the fumarole where he had fallen.
A fumarole is an opening in the earth's crust through which volcanic gases are released. The gases can melt ice and snow to create caves and tunnels through glaciers.They also contribute to the rotten-egg smell that is prevalent at certain upper-elevation locations on Mount Hood.
Sheriffs responded to the 9-1-1 calls Saturday morning with support from Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response's Reach and Treat Team, and Portland Mountain Wave. The fallen climber, later identified as Michael Adams, 59, of Tualatin, Oregon, was particularly fortunate that 15 climbers from Portland Mountain Rescue were training nearby on Mount Hood when he fell.
The PMR team responded quickly and found Adams conscious but injured and in pain, with a fractured leg and possibly broken ribs. He couldn't move but he could talk.
Rescue climbers dropped into the fumarole, successfully stabilized Adams and prepared him for airlift. A Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the Oregon Army National Guard then airlifted him to a Portland hospital for treatment.
Saturday's successful rescue and rescue mission took place just a few days after a complex body recovery mission on Mount Hood that took 18 climbers 17 hours to accomplish on May 21. For that effort Hood River Crag Rats and Portland Mountain Rescue climbers collaborated to find and retrieve the body of Robert Cormier, a Catholic priest from New Jersey who fell 1,000 feet to his death on May 13.
40 people have died while trying to climb Mount Hood since 2000. For a list of all recorded Mount Hood deaths since 1883, click here.