Climber killed on Mt. Hood was a nurse, adventurer



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 28 at 2:40 PM

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. -- A female climber was killed and her husband made it down to safety Wednesday after the two were struck by falling ice while climbing Mt. Hood.

Friends and family said the couple was always doing something outdoors and they loved being active.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Strovink said the two were climbing in the area of the Hogsback and the Pearly Gates when they were hit by "boulder-sized" chunks of ice.

They were identified at 33-year-old Thad Stavn and 31-year-old Brooke Colvin, both from Portland. They were at about 10,000 feet on the 11,239-foot mountain when the accident occurred, Strovink said.

Strovink said Stavn saw his wife hit by falling ice and thrown down the mountain. Strovink said Stavn was able to get to her, but she died instantly. Rescuers were trying to recover the body.

An Oregon Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was originally called to airlift the pair off the mountain, authorities said, but was grounded after one climber was reported dead.

At noon, showers of ice were still falling in the area where the injured climbers were huddling under Crater Rock, along with two other climbers trying to help them.

Stavn made it down safely to Timberline Lodge around 1:30 p.m. and was in the care of search and rescue crews.

Crews said they would use a Snowcat to recover Colvin's body.

Colvin and Stavn met in Jackson, Wyo., according to their wedding Web site. Colvin was living with relatives and Stavn was visiting friends after a climbing trip.

They were married Sept. 16, 2007, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Stavn's father, Rockie Stavn of Bismarck, N.D., told The Oregonian newspaper that the pair moved to Portland shortly before they were married.

"They always were outdoors," Rockie Stavn said. "And Brooke? She was wonderful."

On Saturday, another climber was injured near the Hogsback and the Pearly Gates. Michael Lemming said he and a group of friends were chipping at some ice while climbing Saturday morning, when the ice broke and a large chunk hit him. He fell some 200 feet and broke both legs.

KGW Meteorologist Keely Chalmers said winds had died down and visibility was clear. But melting during the day combined with freezing temperatures overnight meant that problems with falling ice would likely continue through the week.

Mount Hood, about an hour's drive east of Portland, is one of the more frequently climbed glacier-covered peaks in the United States. In 25 years it has claimed at least 36 lives, including three who attempted the more dangerous north face in December 2006.