In the last month, two of our favorite people found themselves on mountains both for very different reasons. One going up and one going down!
Andrew Blake was climbing up to Mount Hood’s summit on January 30th but had a very different experience than he had expected.
“Monday, January 30, 2019 was the perfect morning to climb a mountain. The temperature was cold, and skies were clear with no wind. My climbing party parked at an elevation of about 5,900’ and began our ascent of the south side of Mt. Hood (mostly a hike) at around 4:30 a.m. We ascended the mountain in silence (mostly) and by around 9:00 a.m., had found ourselves at a part of the mountain known as the Hogsback (elevation 10,600’), which is close to the summit. I had stopped to take a few photos when I heard a scream coming from a gully between two rock towers near the summit (11,250’) known as the Pearly Gates. The scream came from a young climber who lost his footing in the Pearly Gates and began falling. He was in trouble. There was nothing he could do to stop the fall. Our party and a few others watched in horror as the climber accelerated, tumbling and bouncing downhill, until he slid to a stop just above an area known as the Devil’s Kitchen. The news later reported a 500’ fall, but I’m guessing he fell around 700’ or 800’ from the pearly gates. He was conscious but had broken his femur. Everyone near the injured climber (including our party) stopped climbing and rushed over to help. One of my climbing partners called 911, and several other climbers helped cover the injured climber up in emergency blankets and spare jackets. Fortunately, several mountaineers were trained in wilderness first aid were nearby and quickly began assessing their newfound patient.
The injured climber was in good hands, so I hiked up the mountain to the pearly gates and found his climbing partner. I let her know that her partner was still alive but would require evacuation. Since the injured climber (and pretty much everyone else assisting with the rescue) was located in an area that is subject to falling ice and snow, I spent the next three or four hours asking other climbers to avoid the Pearly Gates (so nothing would be inadvertently sent down-slope). By early afternoon, the Mt. Hood rescue team arrived, administered pain killers, and brought the climber down in a sled. There aren’t many sports or pastimes where people say, “he was lucky because he only broke his leg.” He was lucky. Mountaineering is a weird sport. No summit that day, but I’ll be going back as soon as I can.” Andrew
Jules and her mum, Carolyn, recently had a two-week adventure on the south island of New Zealand put on by Active Adventures. Amongst the hiking, biking and kayaking, Carolyn decided to peel off and go jump off a mountain with G Force Paragliding. The 77-year old, grandmother of five, took a 2000 ft accompanied flight from the Ben Lomond trail above Queenstown. It goes without saying, we are in awe of this amazing woman.