TIMBERLINE LODGE -- Crews on Mount Hood recovered the body of a solo climber who fell about 1,000 feet Thursday at the Hogsback portion of the mountain.
The climber was identified as 56-year-old Mark Cartier, who was reportedly descending the mountain when he fell.
Cartier is a well-known and experienced climber in the climbing community, according to a KGW source. He has worked at Columbia Sportswear and Nike.
His family said he had done many climbs around the world. Some in the recovery crew described him as someone they would not expect such an accident to happen to, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Adam Phillips said.
His wife said in a statement Mt. Hood was his favorite mountain, "his special playgound," after learning to climb at age 16. Deb Weekly said the only thing different in this climb was that he did not call her to say he had made it down.
"We need time to grieve and celebrate the incredible life he shared with us," she said.
"The Columbia family is stunned and saddened by the news of Mark's passing," CEO Tim Boyle said. "Mark was passionate about everything he did. He was an experienced outdoorsman and a loving family man. Our thoughts are with his wife, two children and other family and friends during this difficult time."
Just before 1 p.m., volunteers from the AMR RAT Team and Portland Mountain Rescue began carrying the body to meet a snow cat at the Palmer ski lift. From there they planned to transport the body down the mountain.
Dispatchers received a phone call shortly after 5 a.m. from a climber below another group who saw the man fall, said Sgt. Brian O'Neil of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.
About 100 people had registered to climb Mount Hood Thursday, O'Neil said.
KGW meteorologist Nick Allard reported a 5:30 a.m. temperature of 42 degrees at Timberline Lodge, with clear skies and calm winds. The freezing level was about 10,000 feet, he said.
Surface conditions were dicey at 10,000 feet, with the temperature just at freezing, Phillips said.
Zach Snow, of Ashland, had reached the Hogsback and heard the news from two other climbers that someone had taken a fall. Word spread quickly and rattled many of the climbers on the mountain, he told KGW.
Unnerved by the events, Snow said he turned back before reaching the summit. Others made the same decision, he said
The Hogsback is a portion of the climb close to the summit on a route favored by most climbers.
Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue said the man appeared to be where a natural fall line would take him from a fall on the Hogsback, in this case near what he called the Headwall and Hot Rocks.
The climbing party should always be ready to provide extended first aid if a climber survives a fall, he said. Rescuers often come from Portland, which is about an hour-long drive, followed by 30 minutes of planning at Timberline Lodge, an hour trip by snow cat, then anywhere from another 30 to 60 minutes to climb to the accident scene.
Earlier today, on the slopes of Mt. Hood, Mark Cartier lost his life descending from his favorite mountain. My husband was a highly respected and accomplished climber and dedicated athlete. Starting at age 16, Mark became a serious climber.
His first love was rock climbing and we met because he was my rock climbing teacher. Mark helped establish numerous routes at Smith Rock and deftly reached the summit of mountains in Oregon, California, Alaska, Europe, the Himalayas, and many other places.
He always exemplified the description of preparedness and calculated risk. I can also say he was well-respected by the very people who helped recover him.
A past member of the Timberline Mountain Guides, Mark used Mt. Hood as his special playground. Mark dedicated his life to being a great father, husband, friend, mentor, and guide. He excelled at pursuing the enjoyment of the adventures he sought out and willingly chose. His greatest thrill in the past few years has been that of a proud spectator and supporter of his teenaged children as they became smart, wonderful young people and athletes.
Mark left this morning from Timberline Lodge after signing into the Mt. Climbers Registry.
He climbed the mountain as he has done hundreds of times before. The only thing different this time was that he didn’t call me saying he had made it down. Hearing of the accident today, I safely assumed he had stopped to assist someone in need. That was the type of climber Mark has always been.
Mark’s family, friends, co-workers and climbing partners will miss him. I ask the media to please respect my family and Mark’s extended family’s privacy. We need time to grieve and celebrate the incredible life that he shared with us.