Rescuers were called to two incidents within 24-hours on Mount Hood, OR over the weekend as recent snowfall and warm temperatures increased the avalanche risk.
“There is a high avalanche danger on Mt. Hood right now, due to a recent accumulation of 10 inches of snow along with warming temperatures. Officials estimate there were over 200 climbers on Mt. Hood Saturday.”
Sheriff’s Office news release
On Friday night, over thirty rescuers were involved in a mission to locate and rescue a 31-year-old man lost on the mountain. Nikolas David Larson, of Sunriver, OR was reported as missing around 7:30 pm on Friday, May 22 after sending a text message to a friend. Larson had summited Mount Hood on Friday but became lost during his descent in whiteout conditions. He had protein bars, but no water and his cellphone battery was running out.
The first team of searchers departed in a snowcat from Timberline Lodge around 11 pm Friday night. From the top of the Palmer Lift, they proceeded on foot to find Larson, reaching him around 2 am Saturday at 6,200-feet on the west side of Mount Hood, above Split Rock and south of Paradise Park. Larson had hypothermia and rescuers administered first aid before extracting him from the mountain.
The same day, a call came in just after midday from a Colorado woman who was struck and injured by a small avalanche. Dani Rudinsky, 23 injured her ankle when she was caught in the small slide as her and her partner climbed the west side of Mount Hood, near Yocum Ridge and below the Reid Headwall. Thankfully Dani, an experienced climber, was equipped with an inReach satellite communication device and was able to send a distress call and communicate with the rescuers.
26 rescuers were involved in the second mission, and “considerable manpower was required to reach the climber at this location”. Between the two operations, search teams had been working missions for nearly 23 hours straight, deputies said.
Mount Hood is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. It was formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast and rests in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. In addition to being Oregon’s highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence, and it offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.