5 Missing Mt. Hood Climbers Rescued
Sunday, May 13, 2007
GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. — Five climbers stranded at the 9,800-foot level of Mount Hood were rescued late Saturday night and returned safely to Timberline Lodge, the Clackamas County sheriff's office said.
All five were reported in good condition.
Rescue workers took a Sno-Cat up the mountain to retrieve them and returned them to Timberline shortly before midnight.
Through the use of a global positioning system and a mountain locator unit the climbers carried, the rescue went much faster than had been anticipated, the sheriff's office said.
Spokesman Jim Strovnik said the Sno-Cat was equipped with a locator unit that homed in on the one the climbers carried. "It took us right to them," he said. He described the climbers as in "good spirits."
Deputies had predicted a much longer effort.
Strovnik said rescuers also were in touch with the climbers by cell phone.
He said they apparently got caught in a whiteout and could not see to get back down the 11,239-foot mountain, Oregon's tallest.
They were identified as Brian Anderson, 24, of Portland, Ben Elkind, 22, of Lake Oswego, Bryce Benge, 29, of Lake Oswego, Jeremiah West, 28, of Portland and Brian Weihs, 39, of Hillsboro, all in the Portland area.
In February three climbers and a dog fell from a ledge at the 8,600-foot level on the same side of the mountain where the five were reported stranded but there were no life-threatening injuries. They were rescued after a cold night and credited the dog for helping them stay warmer.
In December one climber was killed and two are missing and presumed dead after climbing the mountain's more dangerous north side.