Snowboarder rescued from volcanic vent near Mount Hood summit in third rescue in five days

Posted on in category Positive News tagged Mountaineering , Mt Hood , Rescue , Trending
A snowboarder who fell into a volcanic vent was rescued on Mount Hood. Find out more here.

By Zach Urness, Salem Statesman Journal

A snowboarder who slid out of control into a volcanic vent near the summit of Mount Hood was rescued in a daring mission around midnight on Tuesday, according to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.

George Stevens, 26, of Idaho, was successfully extracted from the Devils Kitchen fumarole with ropes by the Hood River Crag Rats and Portland Mountain Rescue after falling onto rocks deep in the fissure and sustaining serious injuries.

He was transported down the mountain and loaded into an ambulance, according to rescuers, although his current condition is unknown.

“He spent a long night — more than 8 hours — breathing toxic gases before rescuers could haul him out,” Portland Mountain Rescue wrote in a Facebook post.

It was the third rescue in five days on Mount Hood, as clear and sunny conditions brought large numbers of climbers onto the mountain.

A snowboarding descent from near Hood summit goes wrong

The following report of the rescue was issued by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office:

Stevens and two friends started for the snow-covered summit late in the day on January 26.

When they reached the steep Hogsback snow ridge on their descent, the surface was slick with frozen ice. Stevens attempted to snowboard down from this ridge, but lost his edge and slid out of control into the open fumarole a few hundred feet below.

A volcanic fumarole is a fissure in the rock that vents hot, toxic gasses and melts large cavities deep underneath the snow that can open up into steep holes. Two of these fumaroles are located in the direct fall lines for the most popular climbing routes on Mount Hood.

Stevens fell to the rocky, exposed bottom of the fumarole cavity where he was seriously injured and unable to extract himself. His climbing partners called 911 for a rescue.

The Hood River County Sheriff’s office led the rescue response and deployed more than 20 volunteer rescuers from the Hood River Crag Rats and Portland Mountain Rescue.  Two teams of rescuers were sent high on the mountain to extract and lower the injured climber to safety.

A rescuer wearing a respirator and using gas monitors was lowered to Stevens around midnight. The team stabilized him and hoisted him to the surface where he was loaded in a litter. Using ropes, the rescuers then lowered him down steep icy slopes to the top of the Palmer ski lift, where he was transferred to a snowcat that transported him to Timberline Lodge parking lot and a waiting ambulance.