The following information is from a Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office press release detailing the rescue of an injured hiker on Mount Shasta:
On June 18, 2018 at about 8:13 a.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 emergency call from a climber on Mount Shasta, reporting his climbing partner was injured and needed to be rescued. The climber injured was identified as 18-year-old Weston Grant of Medford, Ore. According to the report, Mr. Grant fell and may have fractured his ankle.
The Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team was notified and requested assistance from United States Forest Service “Climbing Rangers” from the Mount Shasta Ranger Station. The USFS Rangers were out of the area on a training mission and were not available for the mission.
The SCSO’s SAR Coordinator, Deputy Mike Burns, requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division Air Operations Unit in Redding. CHP Helicopter H-14 and their crew responded to the scene of the incident immediately after notification of the request for assistance.
CHP H-14, piloted by Officer/Pilot Steve Grammer with crew member and paramedic Flight Officer J.R. Keane, located the injured climber near Lake Helen on the western slope of Mount Shasta and were able to promptly and safely rescue Mr. Grant. The CHP helicopter crew transported the injured climber to an ambulance at Mercy Medical Center in Mt. Shasta.
Mr. Grant advised Deputy Burns that he was ascending the mountain with his climbing partner who began showing signs of altitude sickness around Red Banks. The two climbers began to descend the mountain using a technique called “glissading,” however, Mr. Grant was “glissading” down the mountain with his crampons still affixed to his boots when his right foot hooked on a piece of ice, which caused him to encounter an unanticipated fall, which inflicted the injury to his ankle, which immobilized him.
According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “The rescue of the injured climber is another example of the essential and courageous work frequently done by SCSO’s SAR team and our allied-agency SAR counterparts, often times under the most difficult of conditions. The conditions on Mount Shasta are unpredictable and the CHP’s highly-trained and experienced helicopter crews often rescue stranded and injured hikers and climbers off the face of the mountain in a myriad of climatic and environmental conditions. We are very appreciative of the great team effort that made this rescue mission a success and I am pleased Mr. Grant is doing well and on the road to a full recovery.”
Need to be well-prepared
The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens climbing Mt. Shasta to be well-prepared: All climbers should check-in with the local office of the USFS to ensure they obtain permits and safety information, especially if they are ascending above the 10,000 foot level. A Wilderness permit is required (free of charge) for entering the wilderness areas. Summit Passes are required if you climb above 10,000 feet, and are available from participating vendors or from the USFS. Information can also be obtained online at www.fs.usda.gov/stnf or the USFS can be contacted by calling (530) 926-4511 (Mt. Shasta Ranger Station) or (530) 964-2184 for the McCloud Ranger Station.
Climbers should travel with a companion or in groups, should obtain the proper equipment, clothing, and other supplies that will sustain them should they become stranded on the mountain. Call ahead to check for current conditions. Crampons, ice axe, and a helmet are a necessity on Avalanche Gulch route and most other routes (equipment can be rented in Mt. Shasta at two stores). Everyone in a climbing party should carry a map and compass, flashlight, extra food, extra warm clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, pocket knife, matches, a stove and pot for melting snow for water, a first aid kit, a fully charged cell phone and locator beacon.
Online reference materials provided by the USFS provide more details, Summit Pass Fees, and guide services available in the local area. Again, the USFS should be contacted before visiting Mt. Shasta so that you are well-informed of current conditions and requisite requirements and restrictions.
According to SAR Coordinator Burns, “USFS personnel and reference materials, on-line or at local stations, and/or local guides, should be consulted for information and guidance on the use of specialized equipment, especially at higher elevations. Experts should also be consulted on the proper use of crampons and techniques, such as 'glissading,' which should ultimately reduce the chance of injuries or other mishaps occurring while climbing or hiking on Mount Shasta.”