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1 climber killed, 5 more injured on California's Mount Shasta

One climber was killed and five more were injured in four separate incidents on California's Mount Shasta over a 24-hour period, authorities said. The local sheriff's office urged climbers to check with authorities before making plans to climb the 14,000-foot mountain. 

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that the first incident occurred at approximately 8:35 a.m. on Monday, when one of a group of three climbers who were tethered together lost their footing, causing all three to fall down the mountain. The trio "slid on snow and ice approximately 1,500-2,500 vertical feet down the mountain" before they were rescued and airlifted to a hospital, authorities said. 

One man suffered head trauma and an open fracture in his lower leg and was in critical condition, authorities said. One woman suffered a lower leg fracture, but was "alert and oriented." The third person on the climb, 32-year-old guide Jillian Elizabeth Webster, was unresponsive on the scene and later pronounced dead. The surviving man and woman were reported to be "under observation and recovering" as of Monday night. 

A photo from the scene provided by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.  Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office

Approximately four hours after the first fall, a male climber fell about 1,000 vertical feet in the same area. The man was reported to be injured, but not critically, and was airlifted to a hospital. There was not an update on his current condition. 

Another four hours after that fall, a woman who was originally climbing with the man who fell also slid down the mountain about 1,000 vertical feet. That climber was also airlifted to the hospital, and her current condition is unknown. 

On Tuesday, another climber was injured in the same area. It's not yet clear what happened, but the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said it's "coordinating additional rescue efforts." 

"[Due] to the unstable conditions, we are asking that any future climbers PLEASE check with USFS Climbing Rangers before making any plans to summit the mountain," the sheriff's office said.  

Mount Shasta, capped by snow and glaciers, draws climbers especially during the summer season. But climber Wallace Casper said that while he first thought there was a solid freeze, higher up the mountain there was a lot of water ice on top of the snowpack. "Just really tough conditions," he said in a video message shared by the sheriff's department. 

Mount Shasta Climbing Conditions

Here is an update on climbing conditions for anyone who is considering climbing Mount Shasta over the next 2-3 days. Please be advised this is not an official statement from the sheriff’s office. However, we felt it is useful information to share with the public.

Posted by Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, June 6, 2022

"A lot of people had issues with falling and sliding," Casper said. "In those conditions, it's pretty much impossible to [stop yourself from sliding], because it's basically just water ice."

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