Two climbers rescued in separate incidents on Mt. Shasta

A climber slipped and fell into an ice cave (crevasse) at the 12,000 feet level at Casaval Ridge. (SCSO)

Two separate climbing incidents prompted search and rescue efforts on Mt. Shasta Thursday.

According to Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, a report of a climber with a broken leg was received by the SCSO Dispatch Center at about 9:53 a.m. It was later determined a climber, Collins Bakasa of Hayward, California, was immobilized after he slipped, fell, and was injured near Avalanche Gulch, at about 12,000 feet elevation.

USFS Lead Climbing Ranger Nick Meyers reached the injured man and managed to rescue him by transporting him to Lake Helen. The CHP’s H-14 helicopter crew responded and successfully airlifted the man from Lake Helen to Mercy-Medical Center in Mount Shasta, where he was treated for his injuries.

The second call resulted in a response by SCSO’s SAR Coordinator Deputy Mike Burns at about 1:47 p.m. A report was received that a climber slipped and fell into an ice cave (crevasse) at the 12,000 feet level at Casaval Ridge, in vicinity of Whitney Glacier. The climber, Abaline Bushong, was immobilized and endangered.

"The CHP’s H-14 and later, H-16 helicopter crews were instrumental in rescuing Ms. Bushong from her predicament," Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said. "She too was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta for treatment of minor injuries."

Both climbers are expected to be released from the hospital.

SAR Coordinator Deputy Mike Burns: “Mountain enthusiasts should climb at a level commensurate with their abilities, carry clothing and equipment which will allow them to survive in adverse weather or climbing conditions, and always carry sufficient food and water and a first aid kit. Flashlights, avalanche beacons, bright clothing, such as orange, red, or pink; reflectorized tabs, whistles, global position systems, portable strobe lights, signal mirrors, portable radios, and charged cellular phones are items which can be helpful when something goes wrong on the mountain. Simple things like carrying a map and compass and more importantly, knowing how to use them are critical to survival when visibility conditions change or a rapid descent is warranted. Climbing equipment include proper footwear and crampons to negotiate icy conditions at higher elevations”.

Sheriff Jon Lopey: “This is a good time to reinforce some important safety messages to those visitors or area residents who plan to climb or conduct recreational activities on Mount Shasta. When climbing the mountain, always get the most current information on weather and conditions by checking with the USFS rangers. Stop by the Ranger Station in Mt. Shasta, and check the web page www.shastaavalanche.org. You’ll find a wealth of information to help you stay safe, and includes information about permit requirements, weather forecasts, safety tips, and clothing and equipment recommendations for Mount Shasta climbs and other outdoor activities on the mountain.”

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