MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. – A mountaineering guide has been killed and at least four other people have been injured in separate crashes over the past two days as they attempted to climb the summit of Mount Shasta in Northern California in dangerous conditions, authorities said on Tuesday.
Jillian Webster, 32, of Redmond, Oregon, was leading a man and woman on 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.
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.
Both were taken to local hospitals where they were recovering, the sheriff’s office said.
A man was injured after falling about 1,000 feet (300 meters) at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Courtney Kreider told SFGate. At 4 p.m., a woman who was part of the same climbing trio also fell 1,000 feet and was airlifted to hospital.
There was no immediate word on their terms.
These last two climbers lacked the helmets and crampons needed for the snowy and icy conditions, said Nick Meyers, climbing manager on Mount Shasta for the US Forest Service.
“It was just a perfect storm of bad conditions, people on the mountain and inexperience,” Meyers told the San Francisco Chronicle.
At approximately 14,180 feet (4,322 meters), Shasta is California’s fifth highest mountain and is located 275 miles (443 kilometers) north of San Francisco. It attracts around 6,000 climbers to the summit each season.
Warming spring temperatures draw climbers to Shasta, but a weekend cold snap brought rain, snow and fog and made the climb through the famous Avalanche Gulf treacherous.
“We had snow this weekend, just a bit of snow, and it created this thin layer of ice,” Kreider said. “And when it warms up, that thin layer of ice comes off.”
The sheriff’s office has urged people to avoid climbing the mountain for the next three days until conditions improve.