5 Climbers Fall on Mount Shasta

Weekend snow brought fog and left a thin layer of ice
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2022 5:07 PM CDT
1 Climber Killed, 4 Injured in Poor Conditions
Officials have asked climbers to stay away from Mount Shasta, shown in 2008, until conditions improve.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A mountain climbing guide was killed and at least four other people were injured in separate accidents this week while climbing Mount Shasta in Northern California in treacherous conditions, authorities said Tuesday. Jillian Webster, 32, of Redmond, Oregon, was leading a man and a woman Monday morning when one of the climbers slipped and all three, who were roped together, fell 1,500 to 2,500 feet, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said. Webster was pronounced dead at a hospital, while a rescue team found the man in critical condition with a head injury and a broken leg, the sheriff's office said. The woman had a broken ankle, the AP reports. Both were recovering in hospitals, the sheriff's office said.

Also on Monday, a man was injured in falling about 1,000 feet at 12:30pm, sheriff's spokeswoman Courtney Kreider said. At 4pm, a woman who was part of the same trio of climbers also fell 1,000 feet and was airlifted to a hospital. There was no word on their conditions. The latter two climbers lacked helmets and crampons that are necessary for snowy and icy conditions, said Nick Meyers, lead climbing ranger on Mount Shasta for the US Forest Service. "It was just a perfect storm of bad conditions, people on the mountain, and inexperience," Meyers said.

At about 14,180 feet, Shasta is California's fifth-tallest mountain and is located 275 miles north of San Francisco. It draws about 6,000 climbers to the summit each season. Rising temperatures lure climbers to Shasta, but a weekend cold spell brought rain, snow, and fog and made the climb through popular Avalanche Gulf dangerous. "We had snow over the weekend, just a little bit of snow, and it created this thin layer of ice," Kreider said. "And when it warms up, that thin layer of ice sloughs off." The sheriff’s office urged people to avoid climbing the mountain over the next three days until conditions improve.

(More Mount Shasta stories.)

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