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Teen skier spends night on Mount Hood, lives to tell about it
PORTLAND, Ore. – A 13-year-old who fell into a creek while skiing and spent the night on Mount Hood was rescued Monday in good shape.
Bryan Cross of Eugene said he felt fine, although he was shaking as he talked to reporters. Medical personnel checked him out and said he had mild hypothermia. He went home with his parents, Nancy and Pat, vowing to be back on the slopes next weekend.
Cross said he spent the night "huddled up against a tree," trying to get dry and stay warm. He told reporters that he'd fallen into a creek as he was trying to find his way off the mountain.
He said he hadn't worried so much about himself as he was "just kind of worried about my mom because I knew she was going to be scared to death for me."
Temperatures overnight were just above freezing, and it rained, the National Weather Service said.
Cross said he got lost Sunday afternoon during the last run of the day at the Mount Hood Skibowl.
He told rescuers that he went down a trail, found the terrain unfamiliar, hiked back to the top of the trail and realized he was lost. So, he took shelter underneath a tree.
At one point, he told the Clackamas County sheriff's department, he heard the voices of rescuers and yelled at them, but they didn't hear. His tree was no more than a mile, as the crow flies, from the parking lot where rescuers had set up a command post, said Clackamas County sheriff's Detective Wendi Babst.
On Monday morning, Cross had, in his words, "slept in," and the Oregon National Guard sent up a helicopter it normally uses to spot marijuana patches.
At 10:40 a.m., the helicopter awoke the teenager.
Cross was able to walk toward rescuers, who picked him up with a snowcat.
"It was just in the nick of time," Babst said. Within minutes, she said, heavy snows started putting another blanket on Mount Hood, grounding the helicopter. She said Monday afternoon it remained in a ski area parking lot, unable to get off the mountain.
A dozen agencies and rescue outfits joined the search, along with friends and Cross family members, with more than 75 people on the mountain Sunday night and Monday morning.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company