A woman climber who had fallen and was severely injured in the Mount Washington area is now safe and undergoing medical treatment.
On Sunday evening, Sarah Ford called 9-1-1 with just one percent cell phone battery power remaining to inform the officials about her predicament.
She said that as she was rapelling off the Mount Washington summit in Oregon, a falling rock hit her in the head. Ford lost balance and fell off the mountain down a steep 15 foot drop, severely injuring her left knee.
Ford’s cell phone battery died during the call, despite the use of a cell phone signal booster, and long before she could share the specifics of her exact location. The 9-1-1 team tried calling her back, but her cell phone remained unreachable.
However, the personnel at 9-1-1’s Deschutes County center managed to trace Ford’s approximate location through the call.
Linn County soon dispatched a search and rescue team along with members of Corvallis Mountain Rescue and LCSO Posse.
The team looked for Ford all night. It was only at 6:45 a.m. the next morning that they managed to find her. At that point, Ford had been out in the freezing cold weather all night with severe injuries.
Owing to her serious injuries and the isolated location, rescuers had to call Oregon Army National Guard in Salem for help. A helicopter reached the accident location a couple of hours later. Ford later received medical attention at a nearby hospital.
Mount Washington is a well-recognized mountain in the central Oregon Cascade range. Due to its easy access and splendid beauty, Mount Washington remains a popular weekend destination. This eroded volcanic plug attracts many climbers every year.
The Yosemite Decimal System rated all routes up Mount Washington at a Class five or higher. This means climbing Mount Washington requires skill and proper equipment.
The location of the mountain is in the Mount Washington Wilderness. It comes under the Willamette National Forest area. The main access point for the mountain is through the Pacific Crest Trail.
Ford entered the mountain area through that route at around 1 p.m. The accident and her injury took place at 7:30 p.m.