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By the time search and rescue teams responded, the fallen climber was already dead.

66-year-old Ward Milo Maxfield of Paul, Idaho died on Mount Hood Thursday, June 4 after sliding several hundred feet and landing in the Hot Rocks, a fumarole zone near the Hogsback area at about 10,500 feet.

fallen-climberThere were three other people in the climbing party with Maxfield, including his 17-year-old grandson. Maxfield was reportedly about 20 yards ahead of the group when he fell, slid down into the rocks, and stopped moving.

His climbing partners rushed down and performed CPR on him for about 30 minutes, until paramedics arrived on the scene and pronounced him dead.

Paramedics from American Medical Response's Reach and Treat (RAT) Team were on Mt. Hood training and rushed to the scene after hearing of the fall. After pronouncing Maxfield dead they walked with the rest of the climbing party down the mountain to Timberline Lodge.

Ward Maxfield (pictured earlier in the day on Mount Hood) was described as an experienced hiker who ran marathons and was in good physical condition. The cause of his fall is still under investigation, but several witnesses have hypothesized that he may have had a heart attack or stroke, because he apparently fell without slipping and did not appear to make an effort to self-arrest as he was sliding down toward the rocks.

It was the first climbing death on Mount Hood in 2015, after several rescues in January and a skiing accident at Ski Bowl New Years Eve 2014 that killed 37-year-old former racer Brian Fletcher.

The most recent prior climbing death was Robert Cormier, a Catholic priest from New Jersey who fell 1,000 feet to his death on May 13, 2014.

There were three deaths in the summer of 2013:

  • Kinley Adams, a 59-year-old dentist and experienced climber;
  • Sebastian Kinasiewicz, a 32-year-old Polish military officer and combat photographer;
  • Collin Backowski, a 25-year-old snowboarding coach with High Cascade Snowboarding Camp.