On May 30th, a mountain climber needed to be rescued near the summit of Mount Shasta after becoming disoriented and having symptoms of hypothermia.
The 22-year-old climber successfully made it to the summit before attempting to descend the mountain. Once he realized he had taken the wrong way down the mountain, the climber used his cell phone to receive directions back to the trailhead, but the climber was too tired and cold to continue the descent. That’s when USFs and CHP Air Operations came to the rescue.
The winds were so extreme on the mountain that the rescue helicopter had difficulty reaching the climber. Finally, they contacted Shasta Mountain Guides, which luckily had guides on the mountain and were able to assist the man. Finally, when the winds died down, the helicopter rescue was achieved at 13,842 feet.
Here is the video from the CHP – Northern Division Air Operations:
Here is what CHP had to say about the rescue:
**CHP H-16 rescues climber on Mt. Shasta near summit at 13,842 feet (5-30-18)**
On 5/30/2018, at 0730, CHP Air Operations Unit in Redding was requested by Deputy Burns of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue to assist in searching for a lost mountain climber on Mt. Shasta. The climber became lost as he descended the summit and ended up on the southeast side of the mountain. USFS climbing rangers had been in telephone contact with the climber and directed him back to the top where he would get back to the west side of the mountain. When the climber reached Misery Hill, near the summit, he was too cold and weak to continue. H-16, staffed by Pilot/Officer Brian Henderson, Flight Officer/Paramedic J.R. Keane, and auxiliary Flight Officer Eric Pohrman, responded from Redding and arrived at Mt Shasta within 20 minutes. After a short search, H-16 crew located the climber in the Misery Hill area. Due to high winds at the time, H-16 was unable to effect a rescue. H-16 landed at Mercy Mt Shasta Hospital and met with Deputy Burns and USFS Climbing Ranger, Nick Meyers. It was decided that H-16 would transport Nick and his partner, Forrest, to Lake Helen where they would set out to hike to the climber. After dropping off the climbing rangers, H-16 crew noticed the winds had diminished. Meanwhile, a local climbing guide leading a group of climbers to the summit came upon the ill climber. The guide contacted his company who in turn contacted Deputy Burns, and provided information on his condition, which included weakness and hypothermia. He was unable to continue his descent down the mountain. With the decrease in wind speed, H-16 crew decided to attempt the rescue. Pilot Henderson successfully landed H-16 near the summit at an elevation of 13,842 ft. Flight Officer Keane exited the aircraft and assisted the climber to the helicopter. Once secured in H-16, Pilot Henderson lifted off the mountain and flew to Mercy Mt. Shasta Hospital where the climber was delivered to the emergency department for treatment.
The successful outcome of this rescue is due to the tremendous working relationship between private, local, state, and federal agencies. Each of these agencies trains together multiple times per year for this very scenario. They work together on numerous rescues each year and enjoy an excellent relationship with each other. CHP Northern Division Air Operations would like to thank Shasta Mountain Guides, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue, The US Forest Service Climbing Rangers, and the Mount Shasta area CHP for their support and assistance in the successful outcome of this rescue.
This is a great lesson to all people attempting to summit Mount Shasta. It is a very difficult and dangerous mountain to summit and there are many safety precautions you can make to ensure safety. It’s very important to travel in groups, have the proper climbing gear, check current conditions before attempting the climb and make sure you are in the right physical condition for the arduous hike.
We’re happy everyone made it out safe in this situation.