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Accidents and Crashes

Experienced Wash. climber killed in 600-foot fall from glacier on Mount Jefferson

Mt. Jefferson climber Dave Freepons submitted photos
Submitted photos
Experienced climber David Freepons was killed Saturday, July 25 in a fall from a glacier on the slopes of Mount Jefferson, officials say
Mount Jefferson Jsayre64 Wikipedia 2019
JSayre64/Wikipedia
Mount Jefferson

Multi-agency recovery effort planned

(Update: Climber identified, details provided)

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday identified an experienced climber from Kennewick, Wash., who slipped and fell hundreds of feet to his death on Saturday while traversing a glacier high on the slopes of Mount Jefferson with a group of fellow climbers.

David Freepons, 65, “had decades of climbing experience” but was unable to stop his descent on the east side of the 10,495-mountain, Oregon’s second-highest peak, Sgt. David Pond said.

Freepons was found about 600 feet downhill and deceased by his group, Pond said. He said Freepons initially fell about 500 feet, struck a rock outcropping and came to rest about 100 feet further down the peak, in an area very difficult to access.

 The climbing group members were able to call 911, who activated a Life Flight helicopter, but Pond said it could not recover Freepons due to the hazardous conditions, distance and an inability to safely move him to the helicopter’s location.

The climber’s family has been contacted and advised a multi-agency recovery mission is being planned for this week, the sergeant said.

Sheriff Jim Adkins said Freepons was with a group of three or four others who hiked in from the west side of the mountain, which straddles the Jefferson, Marion and Linn County lines, as well as a portion of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. It’s Oregon’s second-highest mountain, after 11,250-foot Mount Hood.

Because the climber fell on a very challenging part of the peak to access, a helicopter is likely to play a key role in the recovery effort that will involve rescue teams from several counties, including Deschutes County, the sheriff said.

Pond said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank these agencies for their assistance:

Office of Emergency Management – Search & Rescue Coordinator

Linn County Sheriff’s Office – Search & Rescue, Posse,

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office – Search & Rescue, Mountain Rescue Unit

Lane County Sheriff’s Office – Search & Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue Unit

Benton County Sheriff’s Office – Search & Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit

Jefferson County / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. Climbing is so treacherous this time of year, the footing is so unstable. Two people fell on Hood this week as well, but injuries not severe.

  2. God Bless him. he died as he lived and he surely enjoyed every minute until the last one. We should all be so lucky.
    The high mountains are treacherous places at the best of times and anyone who spends large amounts of time there clearly loved it.
    R.I.P.

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