Hundreds Scale Mount Hood Since Disaster
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Mount Hood continues to attract climbers despite the deaths of nine people when a spring blizzard hit Oregon’s tallest peak two weeks ago.
Mountain guides, city recreation officials and Mount Hood National Forest officials say they have seen no cancellations by climbing parties and that the May-June climbing season on the 11,235-foot mountain east of Portland remains in full swing.
Meanwhile, the two 16-year-old students from Oregon Episcopal School who survived three days and nights in a snow cave were recovering in Portland hospitals Sunday.
Giles Thompson of Longview, Wash., remained in serious but stable condition at Providence Medical Center, where he was expected to undergo further surgery on his limbs this week, said nursing supervisor Philip Hostetler.
Thompson’s legs were amputated below the knee because of damage caused by frostbite.
Brinton Clark of Portland was in good condition at Emanuel Hospital. ″She’s just gradually improving day by day,″ said nursing supervisor Marilyn Novak.
Seven students and two faculty members in the school’s climbing party were found dead on the mountain May 14 and 15. Two others, a student and a guide had climbed off the mountain safely to seek help.
A Seattle-area school canceled a student climb set for Memorial Day weekend on Mount Adams in southwest Washington out of respect for the members of the ill-fated climb.
″We were afraid it might look like bravado on our part, and we knew some parents might be sensitive about it,″ Lakeside School headmaster Dan Ayrault said Friday.
A major Portland mountain-guide company reported it was still getting calls from prospective Mount Hood climbers.
″Oh, we’ve had a few postponements because of iffy weather conditions, but nobody has been canceling because of the recent tragedy,″ said Mike Volk, owner of Timberline Mountain Guides.
The company usually directs about 20 Mount Hood climbing parties in the May-June season, he said.
″For people who want to climb, this kind of thing won’t deter them,″ Volk said. Any climb that was postponed would go on as planned during better weather, he added.
Bruce Haynes, special-uses administrator for the Mount Hood National Forest’s Zigzag Ranger Station, said 24 parties with 128 people went up Mount Hood on May 17, two days after the bodies were found.
″It was a good weekend of weather, and that always brings out the climbers,″ Haynes said.
He said that by July 1 the Forest Service would begin taking a very close look at mountain conditions and start advising people to stay off Mount Hood because of rock slides.