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Jun-28-2020 13:13printcomments

Successful Rescue of Fallen Climber on Mt Hood

The events of Saturday morning will not soon be forgotten.

mt hood rescue victim
Climbing accident victim is being prepared to be hoisted up to the rescue helicopter.
All photos: CCSO

(MT HOOD, Oregon) - Saturday morning, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue (SAR) Coordinators responded to a climbing accident on Mt. Hood.

23-year old Katie Howard, of Portland, called 911 at about 7:30 a.m. to report her climbing partner had fallen and was presumed to be seriously injured.

26-year old Von Donald Houvener, of Portland, had fallen about 300 feet down to the White River Canyon and was located at approximately 9,100' elevation.

Clackamas County SAR was activated and called on special teams including Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR), Mountain Wave, American Medical Response's Reach and Treat Team, and the U.S. Forest Service.

SAR Coordinators from the Hood River Sheriff's Office also responded to assist, as the area the climber fell was located is near the border of Clackamas and Hood River Counties.

Due to the seriousness of the injury, special permission was requested and obtained from USFS to enter the Wilderness Area with motorized equipment. SAR Coordinators also contacted the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to request a helicopter from the Army National Guard out of Salem for support.

Rescuers used a snowcat to travel above Palmer Lift into the Wilderness Area below Crater Rock. Rescuers then traversed east to the edge of White River Canyon and onward to the victim.

The first team of rescuers reached Mr. Houvener about 11 a.m. They found him to be conscious and alert, but he had serious injuries.

The Oregon Army National Guard helicopter arrived soon after. Houvener was stabilized and prepared to be hoisted by the helicopter. Just after 12 noon, the rescue chopper hoisted Houvener and transported him to an area hospital.

All the rescuers made it down off the mountain safely. The Sheriff's Office passed on their thanks to all the rescue teams and organizations involved for their support and assistance during this successful rescue operation.


SPECIAL CORONAVIRUS SAFETY NOTE: Volunteer rescue crews are taking what precautions they can in the age of COVID-19 -- but they're also asking climbers to consider this before summiting the mountain. To ensure quick and safe rescues, volunteers must often move in confined spaces, working as a team in close proximity. These close quarters have rescuers concerned about COVID-19 exposure -- if a patient or rescuer contracts COVID-19, everyone in the rescue group would have to quarantine, which would diminish our response in future rescue missions. -Clackamas Co Sheriff

Source: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office


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