Facebook-posting climber stranded on Mt. Hood found safe

Facebook-posting climber stranded on Mt. Hood found safe

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. – After many hours of climbing up Mount Hood Wednesday night, rescue crews located a climber stuck near the summit of the mountain, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Rescuers reached 30-year-old Jeff Kish of Portland around midnight, and the sheriff's office said he was returned cold and wet but otherwise unhurt to a base camp at about 2 a.m.

"I got wet and I mean it was just terrible," Kish said. "I don’t think I would have lasted the night if they didn’t find me."

Kish used his cellphone to stay in contact with rescuers, family and friends and even posted a couple of updates on his Facebook page.

According to Mark Morford, a spokesman for Portland Mountain Rescue, Kish was stuck at about 10,000 feet in elevation near Crater Rock. Kish said he knew there were cliffs near his location and decided to play it safe and call for rescue as conditions declined.

"He was in a pretty rocky area about halfway up Crater Rock with a lot of cliffs and cliff bands around him," one rescuer said. "So it was probably a good place for him to stay put."

Kish said he had friends that knew some his rescuers. One man who went up the mountain to rescue Kish said conditions were challenging. "It was awfully rough out there, cold, very windy, low visibility."

A 13-person rescue team from Portland Mountain Rescue worked its way up the mountain by snow cat to the Palmer ski lift, which is about 6,900 feet in elevation.

They then climbed the rest of the way to Kish's location near Crater Rock, which was determined by GPS coordinates from his cellphone.

According to Clackamas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Marcus Mendoza, Kish's cellphone, however, died at some point before rescuers reached him.

"You're gonna hear about it in the news anyway. ... Got stuck in a storm on the summit of mt. (sic) Hood," Kish wrote on Facebook hours before his phone died. "Called 911 after several hours of trying to self rescue."

According to Clackamas County dispatch, Kish called 9-1-1 from the mountain just before 2 p.m.

He reported that a storm moved in and he could not find his way down in the whiteout conditions.

According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, the visibility at the 10,000-foot level is about four feet and one to three inches of snow is expected overnight.

Kish registered his climb before departure and was well-equipped with climbing gear, warm clothes and other supplies. He was able to drive home on his own after the rescue.

Kish owns the Rock & Rose clothing store on East Burnside Street in Portland.