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Editorial: Alpine dynamics

June 11, 2011

Best wishes to Meredith Jaques, injured on Mount Hood

The community's thoughts and prayers are with one of our climbers, severely injured while scaling Mount Hood on Thursday. (Article, page A1.)

In any discussion of the mountain and its dynamics, the welfare of Meredith Jaques of Hood River is paramount at this time. She fell 300 feet after being hit by a massive chunk of ice, while training with the Hood River Crag Rats rescue team. Jaques, who grew up in Hood River, has been transferred to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where her family is with her.

What happened to Jaques is a reminder of the raw power of a mountain that deserves love as well as respect.

Thousands of people scale the 11,325-foot peak each year. Jaques was training with Crag Rats mountain rescue team, people who know and understand the mountain as well as anyone.

Distressing as Jaques' injury is, it points to the inherent dangers of this mountain. If such an accident can happen as part of a Crag Rats training, it can happen to anyone.

The current mountain conditions found on the Mt. Hood National Forest website state it plainly: "Spring climbing conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable.

"Sudden storms, avalanche hazards and high winds may make climbing conditions inadvisable and potential search and rescues impossible. Those planning to climb should take all necessary equipment for self rescue and sustained stays on the mountain if it becomes necessary to wait out a storm."

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