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Mount Hood climber who fell ‘likely deceased’

PORTLAND — Rescuers say they see no signs of life from a climber whom other enthusiasts saw falling about 1,000 feet from the top of Oregon’s tallest peak on Tuesday.

The climber appeared to be alone on Mount Hood when the fall happened around 8 a.m., the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said. Other climbers lost sight of the person — who appeared to be a man — after the fall near Eliot Glacier at the volcanic peak 50 miles east of Portland.

A helicopter photographed the climber and his position but saw “no signs of life,” sheriff’s office spokesman Pete 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.

Rescuers may have to wait until Wednesday morning to recover the climber, when colder temperatures would afford more stability as the ice layer restores overnight, 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.