Mt. Hood Climber Falls Into Volcanic Vent


A climber on Mt. Hood had to be rescued on Friday after falling 15 feet into a fumarole, a steam vent on the still active volcano.

32-year-old Caroline Sundbaum was in the Devil's Kitchen area at the 11,200 level when she sat down on her pack to rest. The snow collapsed under her and she fell into the vent.

The vents are dangerous, because of the gases released by the volcano.

Another climber saw her fall and used a rope to get her out.

A member of Portland Mountain Rescue happened to be on the mountain at the time, and headed toward the climber to assist. A PMR team also began heading toward Mt. Hood. A backup rescue team from the Hood River Crag Rats and a Search and Rescue Coordinator from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office responded to the area, as well.

Two other people in Sundbaum's climbing group had gone ahead. Once they learned about Sundbaum's accident, they returned and helped the PMR member, who had arrived at the site of the fumarole accident.

Sundbaum had an injured shoulder. With help, she was able to make her way to the Palmer lift.

Sheriff's Office SAR Coordinators arrived at Timberline Lodge and established a command post. A Snow Cat was sent to the top of Palmer Lift with a PMR team. They brought Sundbaum down from the mountain.