TIMBERLINE LODGE -- A solo climber who reportedly fell about 1,000 feet Thursday at the Hogsback portion of the ascent from Timberline Lodge to the summit of Mount Hood was dead when rescue crews arrived at the site.
It's unclear whether the man died in the fall or afterward. He was reportedly descending the mountain when he fell. A debris field appeared to mirror the path of the man's fall.
Dispatchers received a phone call shortly after 5 a.m. from a climber below the group who saw the man fall, said Sgt. Brian O'Neil of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
The man's body was expected to be taken off the mountain by ground rescue crews, said Sgt. Adam Phillips.
About 100 people had registered to climb Mount Hood Thursday, O'Neil said. The weather will be in our favor, he said of recovery attempts.
KGWmeteorologist Nick Allard reported a 5:30 a.m. temperature of 42 degrees at Timberline Lodge, with clear skies and calm winds. The freezing level was about 10,000 feet, he said.
Sgt. Phillips said the sheriff's office wants all other climbers to cancel their trips Thursday. Surface conditions were dicey at 10,000 feet, with the temperature just at freezing, he said.
Zach Snow, of Ashland, had reached the Hogsback and heard the news from two other climbers that someone had taken a fall. Word spread quickly and rattled many of the climbers on the mountain, he told KGW.
Unnerved by the events, Snow said he turned back before reaching the summit. Others made the same decision, he said
The Hogsback is a portion of the climb close to the summit on a route favored by most climbers.
Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue said the man appeared to be where a natural fall line would take him from a fall on the Hogsback, in this case near what he called the Headwall and Hot Rocks.
The climbing party should always be ready to provide extended first aid if a climber survives a fall, he said. Rescuers often come from Portland, which is about an hour-long drive, followed by 30 minutes of planning at Timberline Lodge, an hour trip by snow cat, then anywhere from another 30 to 60 minutes to climb to the accident scene.