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Climbers on Oregon mountain fall 500 feet

Three climbers near the top of Oregon’s highest peak fell 500 feet on Saturday, seriously injuring two of them.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Three climbers near the top of Oregon’s highest peak fell 500 feet, injuring two on Saturday morning.

The trio were part of a few parties climbing on the 11,240-foot Mount Hood, when something went awry. They fell backward, hitting other climbers below them, officials said.

Aaron Dunlop, 31, of Newberg, and Jeremy Hawkins, 32, of Tigard, were airlifted off the mountain by a National Guard helicopter, officials said.

The two had “head and back injuries, going in and out of consciousness, very serious,” said Clackamas County sheriff’s Detective Jim Strovink.

There were in fair condition Saturday night at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland, officials said.

A third climber, Brad Wood of Tigard, walked away after his fall, officials said.

'They were doing everything right'
Among climbers, who were around the 10,000-foot level of the mountain, were a U.S. Forest Service wilderness ranger and Portland Mountain Rescue members above, said Kathy Peterson, a spokeswoman for the Mount Hood National Forest.

Rescue member Erik Broms was preparing to climb the final leg to the summit when he saw the trio fall and slide down the ice.

“As soon as we saw them sliding my partner and I started running down to where they were,” Broms said.

It was the first sunny day in Oregon after a long stretch of cloudy and rainy June weather, Broms said, but it was too icy for the trio to brake or halt their slide with their climbing equipment, Broms said.

“It was a day when you should have been a little more cautious,” he said. “They were doing everything right, but sometimes somebody slips. It’s an accident, it’s not anybody’s fault.”