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  • 21 Sep 2014

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Mt. Hood climber rescued from volcanic vent

After a lengthy rescue, the climber who fell on Mount Hood and was unable to climb out was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, said Portland Mountain Rescue leader Steve Rollins.

Michael Adams, 59, of Tualatin, fell around 8:45 a.m. into a fumarole, a hole in a volcanic region from which hot gases and vapors issue, near the Crater Rock and Hogsback areas. He then slid several hundred feet, Rollins said.

“The climber is lucky because where he landed could definitely have resulted in a fatality,” said Rollins. “He actually probably picked a good day to fall off the mountain if you had to pick one.”

Around 2 p.m., Adams was taken by National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to Legacy Emmanuel with a total of 14 broken bones, including a broken leg, possible rib fractures and other minor injuries. While trapped, he was able to communicate with other climbers. The climber was hoisted out of the fumarole after PMR conducted a rope rescue.

“It’s the heat of the steam that creates that depression where he landed, the steam and sulfur itself can be a life threat,” Rollins said.

When he fell, Adams was at an elevation of 10,000 feet, rocketed 500-800 feet down the slope and landed 20 feet down the vent. Rollins said rescuers do not know exactly why the climber fell, but confirms the conditions were icy.

Fifteen Portland Mountain Rescue members were nearby in a training exercise at the time. Bellows said they were moved to the South Side to help with the rescue effort. The rescue effort was coordinated from Timberline Lodge.

Family thanks PMR

Michael Adams’ son, Jacob, said he is grateful his father is alive and not paralyzed. The family said they are thankful for the work done by Portland Mountain Rescue crews.

Michael, an engineer, father, husband and grandfather, has climbed mountains for years and is also an avid cyclist.

Adams will undergo surgery Saturday night. His family said Michael is alert and in good spirits.