Hood River climber hit by falling ice


News staff writer

February 3, 2007

A Hood River climber was injured on Mount Hood when a chunk of ice broke away from an overhanging ridge and rolled into her on Wednesday morning.

Robin Merriam, 45, sustained three fractured vertebrae in her lower back from the impact. She is also being treated for severe contusions at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

“It’s going to be a pretty painful couple of weeks for her. But it could have been worse,” said her husband, Tom Merriam, 48.

He said a huge chunk of ice – believed to weigh about 200 pounds – hurtled almost 300 feet before striking Robin. The couple, joined by family friend Mark Flaming, 46, was at the 10,600-foot level on the southern slopes of Mount Hood when the accident occurred.

Tom made an emergency call to get Robin help via his cell phone about 2 p.m. And then he and Flaming wrapped her in a blanket and kept her warm until help arrived.

He also kept the couple’s three children of middle and high school ages posted about their mother’s progress.

“Once we got situated, I called and let them know that mom was okay and help was on the way,” said Tom.

It took almost six hours for rescuers from Clackamas County to organize and get up the steep slope near Hogsback Ridge. It was another two hours before Robin was airlifted off the mountain by an Oregon National Guard helicopter.

Tom and Flaming then hiked in the dark down the snowy terrain, accompanied by Portland Mountain Rescue.

“It worked out about as well as it could have,” said Tom.

As of press time on Friday, Robin had not yet been released from the hospital — but Tom believed that she would be home sometime during the weekend to begin her recovery.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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