PORTLAND, Ore. — Rescuers said Tuesday they saw no signs of life from a climber from New Jersey whom other enthusiasts spotted falling about 1,000 feet from the top of Oregon’s tallest peak.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said it believes the climber is dead, but his identity won’t be released until his family is notified.
The climber ascended the south side of Mount Hood on Tuesday with three others, one of whom suffered a leg cramp, sheriff’s office spokesman Pete Hughes said.
He continued heading up alone and appeared to reach the summit before falling at about 8 a.m. near Eliot Glacier at the volcanic peak 50 miles east of Portland.
Hughes says rescuers will wait until next week to recover the climber, when colder temperatures would afford more stability.
A helicopter photographed the climber and his position but saw “no signs of life,” Hughes said.
“We believe he is most likely deceased,” Hughes said.
Spring is the prime season for climbing Mount Hood because the weather is better but not so warm that the ice melts and rocks fall more readily. The peak is notorious for loose rocks in warm weather.
Conditions were warm in the area on Monday and Tuesday, with a reported temperature of 47 degrees Tuesday morning on the summit.
“Climbers up there reported the snow was getting warm, and they wanted to get down and get off,” Hughes said.
Thousands of people climb the 11,240-foot peak each year.
The most recent death at Mount Hood was in August. A Polish military officer visiting the United States for training with a drone manufacturer went to the summit on a day off. The novice climber fell about 1,000 feet.
The most fatalities in one accident were seven students from Oregon Episcopal School and two adults who died after they dug a snow cave during a sudden storm in May 1986.