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Portland man falls to his death on Hood posted on 03/01/2018

The stark beauty of Mount Hood, once again, unveiled its other side.

The 11,240-foot peak claimed the life of Miha Sumi, 35, of Portland, when the climber reportedly slipped on the ice and failed to self-arrest, falling more than 700 feet from the Hogsback area on the south face of the mountain.

Sumi’s injuries reportedly included bruising around the ears, significant bleeding, loss of sensation and fading vital signs. Other climbers reached Sumi – including his climbing partner Chatchay Thongthap who made the initial 911 call – and administered CPR for approximately 1 1/2 hours. An hour later an Oregon Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter arrived and hoisted the fallen climber into the helicopter and transported him to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival.

The Feb. 13 rescue mission was complicated when for several hours officials could not determine how many people remained on the mountain when the weather turned warm and conditions worsened. Despite the clear skies, falling rocks and ice hampered rescue efforts while NOAA was forecasting significant snowfall that night.

Rescuers were racing against the clock.

Besides Sumi and those assisting him, there were stranded climbers sheltering in place on Hogsback awaiting the rescue teams. These climbers reportedly had mid-level experience and were well-equipped with appropriate climbing gear, including ice axes, crampons, helmets and other safety gear.

Members of the RAT team, Portland Mountain Rescue and the 304th Air Force Rescue Squadron headed up the mountain, assisted by snowcats transporting other rescuers to the top of the Palmer lift for deployment and were prepped to transport recovered climbers back to Timberline Lodge.

Rope lines were put down to assist the other stranded climbers to safely descend the mountain. One of the climbers, Kimberly Anderson, 32, of Beaverton was unable to move. She was later secured in a sled and was transported to safety.

Matt Zovrtink and Dan Parks were the other climbers that required assistance.

“Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Miha Sumi,” Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a press release. “Thanks to all the search groups for their tremendous work on this complex search-and-rescue mission. Every SAR mission is a team effort requiring help and careful coordination from teams dedicated first-response partners and volunteers.”

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Portland Mountain Rescue, American Medical Response Reach & Treat Team, 304th Air Rescue Squad, Hood River Crag Rats, Navy personnel from Whidbey Island, Oregon Emergency Management and Mountain Wave.

Mount Hood is the second most climbed mountain in the world.

By Larry Berteau/MT




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