Climber: Woman hit by huge chuck of ice on Mt. Hood

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by Michael Rollins, kgw.com staff

NWCN.com

Posted on June 9, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:13 AM

TIMBERLINE LODGE -- A climber was injured in a fall on Mt. Hood Thursday morning after a huge chuck of ice hit her.

The climber was caught in a small snow slide along the Hogsback, according to Clackamas County sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Jim Strovink.

Search coordinators said the woman was hit with what members described as a 20 by 40 foot-chunk of ice. She then fell another 300 feet prior to stopping.

"I heard somebody yell, looked up and saw a lot of ice and snow coming down at us," climber Nick Allen, with a group of seven climbers just below, said. "A lot of debris, a lot of snow. I’ve seen video of avalanches and it looked a lot like that."

The 30-year-old woman was alert but suffered cuts to her scalp and face and also had some back pain, Strovink said. She was with a group of about 12 climbers when she was hurt.

"I dug my feet in and grabbed onto my ice ax," Lauren Panasewicz said. "It came and like hit us and we got knocked down about 100 yards. It feels like you got hit by a car, just really sore and my face is all cut up and my hands and stuff."

SKY 8 Images: Mt. Hood Rescue Scene

A Reach and Treat team was bringing her down by sled and then snow Cat.

SKY 8 raw video: Mount Hood climber rescue

The group left for the ascent about 2 a.m. and the woman fell at the Hogsback about 6 a.m.

Conditions were ideal Thursday for climbing.

The Hogsback is a long and narrow knife-edge ridge beginning at about 10,000 feet on Mt. Hood, an area that often requires crampons and is the more technical section of the mountain's most popular, south face climbing route.

May and June are the most popular months for climbing Mt. Hood due to the combination of more reliable weather plus deep snowpack. 

KGW Reporter Abbey Gibb contributed to this report

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