A climber is lucky to be alive after falling hundreds of feet down a hole on Oregon's Mount Hood.
Reports estimate 59-year-old Michael Adams fell 500 to 1,500 feet down a fumarole, a large hole emitting steam, sulfur and other gases from the dormant volcano. (Via The Weather Channel)
KOIN caught up with one of Adams' friends who says their group was on its way down the mountain a little before 9 a.m. Saturday near the volcano's Hogsback area.
"The next thing the other guy says is he heard ice crackling and he looked and saw Mike trying to stop for rest and nothing but ice shards breaking off as he shot past him."
Nearby climbers watched in horror as Adams hurtled past them.
"He looked like a rag doll. He just came tumbling head over heels right into the hole." ...
"It was literally like a drain where he just went in a circle and went in there and it was pretty horrifying." (Via KPTV)
Fortunately for Adams, rescue crews were training for falls just like his nearby. Within a half hour, rescue crews were able to reach him and, a few hours later, a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter swooped in.
"He was alert and talking to rescue teams, but too badly hurt to climb out so they flew this helicopter in." (Via KATU)
This is peak climbing season for Mount Hood, which sees more than 10,000 visitors annually. Though conditions are usually best this time of year, there are still concerns. (Via USDA)
"Crews say this is an especially dangerous time of the year because the warm sunny weather makes the snow and ice even more unstable." (Via KATU)
KOIN reports Adams broke 14 bones and is still in serious condition. He's expected to survive, but he will be in the hospital for weeks to come.