HOOD RIVER COUNTY, ORE – The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a climber in distress from the summit of Mount Hood Saturday morning, January 22, 2022 at about 09:50 a.m. A 27 year old Eugene Oregon man, Iain Moses, reported his equipment was failing and could not descend the mountain. He was climbing alone. A Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Coordinator activated the Crag Rats Mountain Rescue team, who had a patrol on the South Climb of Mt Hood. Two Crag Rats rescue mountaineers, Dr. Christopher Van Tilburg and Leif Bergstrom, were climbing Mount Hood with two other Hood River Ski Mountaineers. The group was at the Hogsback snow ridge just below the summit when the callout came. “Fortuitously we were near the summit, and prepared for a rescue,” said Van Tilburg. In addition, Portland Mountain Rescue had two Ready Teams on the mountain, one of which was also on the Hogsback.
Crag Rats climbed to the summit and located the Mr Moses. Bergstrom, who is also a mountain guide, roped the climber down the Old Chute, a steep, icy slope that descends from the 11,249-foot peak. Crag Rats rendezvoused with Portland Mountain Rescue crews, who had traversed above Hot Rocks Fumarole to the Old Chute. The two teams assisted Mr Moses with food and water, then descended to Timberline Lodge by 3:30 pm. Moses was uninjured and in good shape.
Mount Hood is one of the world’s most popular climbs, but can be challenging. Bergstrom advises people who are inexperienced to go with a professional mountain guide. “It’s important to have mountaineering boots, crampons and an ice axe and know how to use them,” Bergstrom said.
Crag Rats and Portland Mountain Rescue are members of Mountain Rescue Association, and specialize in high mountain crevasse, avalanche, and cliff rescue.
The mission follows on the heals of an already busy winter for the Hood River Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue Teams, which also includes the Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue Team. Crag Rats have been recently deployed on night missions to hikers needing assistance at Bennet Pass on 1/17/22, Barlow Pass on 12/14/21, and Frog Lake on Christmas Day to name a few.
Search teams like Crag Rats (cragrats.org), Pacific Nortwest Search and Rescue (pnwsar.org) and Portland Mountain Rescue (pmru.org) depend on donations to help provide volunteer mountain rescue services.