Ice falls, hits Hood River woman on Mount Hood

June 11, 2011

A falling ice chuck reportedly measuring 20 by 40 feet barreled through a string of climbers near the Hogsback Ridge area of Mount Hood Thursday around 6 a.m., striking Meredith Jaques, 30, of Hood River, and sending her into a 300-foot slide down a steep slope.

"She's tiny but very strong," said Deborah Whiting-Jaques, Jaques' mother, as reported to Everton Bailey Jr. of prior to her arrival at the hospital. "She's an incredibly bright, pragmatic woman, and we all know she's going to pull through."

The initial 7:25 a.m. emergency call for Jaques - who suffered injury to her back, neck, arms, face and legs - came in from her fellow climbers, all members of the Hood River Crag Rats mountain rescue team, who were on a training mission together.

The climbing group of 12, including Jaques' brother Aaron, was at approximately 10,500 feet - above an area known as Devil's Kitchen, near Hogsback Ridge - during their attempted ascent when Jaques was struck by the falling ice.

Jaques was assisted by the Crag Rats until additional search and rescue teams arrived. It was reported that a retired physician and an emergency medical technician were part of her climbing team.

The American Medical Response Reach and Treat Team and the Portland Mountain Rescue mountaineers partnered in her evacuation, arriving on scene at about 11:25 a.m.

Even with the good luck of an experienced rescue team on hand, more challenges followed for Jaques, who was stabilized and lowered by sled to an area known as the Palmer Glacier where she was met by a snow cat for transport.

A Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue coordinator's report noted mechanical difficulties with the snow cat a short time after her pick-up, having traveled only halfway down the mountain.

Consequently, the rescue team continued with Jaques' evacuation from the cat break-down point through treacherous terrain using only a toboggan as they descended the remainder of the way to the lodge.

Jaques was off the mountain by 4:45 p.m., more than nine hours after the original distress call. She was transported by ambulance to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. She was later transferred to Legacy Emmanuel in Portland.

According to Jaques bedside nurse in a call placed to the hospital, the family has asked for privacy and Jaques' current medical condition has not been reported publically.

Jaques works for Shred Alert; a Hood River-based sportswear company. Her father is Jerry Jaques of Hood River.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office coordinated the rescue through an established command post at Timberline Lodge. Mountain Wave Communications provided radio communication services during the rescue.

Latest stories

Latest video:

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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners