A man from Seattle fell on Mt. Hood yesterday and died at the hospital.
According to reports, he fell long after we were down and on our way back to Portland, so we did not hear about it until last night. We turned around yesterday a hundred feet above the Hogsback because of the crowds, conditions, and obvious signs of inexperience around us. The inexperience was everything from tired, nervous climbers to teams using rope in a way that struck us as potentially catastrophic if a fall happened. I reached a point where I looked at the crowds, tested the snow, talked to my partner...and decided 'nope, not today.'
I love the mountains but I don’t want to die on them because of an easily preventable situation. With Mt. Hood, it is easy to make the decision not to summit because it is so close and we can always return another day. You can have all the sense and experience in the world but accidents still happen. A cornice may break, a snow bridge will collapse, a simple slip...and it is over. It's a fascinating balance that is definitely part of the appeal of these sort of adventures.
As the wise philosopher Kenny Rogers said: You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.