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Mom, daughter recall dramatic mountain rescue

July 28, 2013 8:29:46 PM PDT By Christine Dobbyn


A mother and daughter returned home to Katy this weekend after their trip-of-a-lifetime nearly ended in tragedy.

The goal was a mother-daughter bonding adventure for Nancy Allen and 18-year old Sara, who is ready to go to college at the University of Texas-San Antonio in a few weeks.

"We just wanted to do something we'd never done before," Sara said.

Well, they certainly did.

They were thrilled when they reached the summit of Mount St. Helens in Washington on Wednesday, but that victory was short-lived when Nancy took a terrible fall.

"I was just thinking about the fact that she could be really hurt to the point she had a concussion or something," Sara said.

Scraped and sore, Nancy was having a difficult time continuing. Daylight was ending, ice was forming and hypothermia was setting in.

"I got service [on a cell phone], and all of a sudden it slipped out of her hand and down the snow," Nancy said.

After some trouble, they were able to call for help. As minutes seemed like hours, Nancy gave her daughter a heart-shaped rock.


Expedition is the subject of Thursday’s “Oregon Field Guide” telecast

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter Published: October 21, 2014, 7:18 PM

On a clear day, Mount St. Helens is the dominant feature on Clark County’s northeast skyline.

But hidden in its crater is a secret landscape that has been viewed by only a dozen people who explored two glacier caves in June.

Ed Jahn likened the cave environment to a Middle-Earth setting in “Lord of the Rings.”

“You’re descending into a steamy pit and constantly aware of how active a volcano it is,” said Jahn, an Oregon Public Broadcasting producer. “All these rocks, warm and steaming; the smells and humidity: It’s like being in Mordor.”

Their expedition is the subject of Thursday’s “Oregon Field Guide” telecast. OPB’s outdoor show will kick off its 26th season with “Discovery on Mount St. Helens.”

The volcano literally is a forbidden landscape. People need permits to gain access. Ten experienced mountaineers, several affiliated with the National Speleological Society, had that access during a five-day stay in the volcano’s crater; Jahn and OPB videographer Todd Sonflieth were allowed to document the visit.

“We have lots of criteria for going in — and into the crater, in particular,” said Peter Frenzen, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument scientist. “We look carefully at what the objectives are. Does it provide new knowledge?”



By Craig Hill: September 9th, 2013

Staff writerting up and down Mount St. Helens and the annual rush to get a pass are forgotten above the clouds


Perched on the crater rim of Mount St. Helens for the second time in three weeks, Bryan Zagar marveled at the difference a few weeks could make on the 8,363-foot volcano.

“Two weeks ago there was a snowfield right here,” the Puyallup resident said, pointing at an ashy saddle between two humps on the crater rim. “My daughter was a little nervous when she crossed it.”


From the same spot on his first trip, Zagar and his kids couldn’t even see into the crater because their view was blocked by massive snow cornices.

On his second trip, July 31, he was enjoying an unobstructed view of St. Helens’ new dome and the Crater Glacier.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Zagar said.

Choosing the best time to hike to the top of Mount St. Helens is a matter of personal preference. And every trip has the potential to be different.

The Columbian | Oct. 24, 2013 2:06 a.m. | Updated: Oct. 24, 2013 9:16 a.m.

Highlighted against a brilliant blue sky, the white-cloaked flanks of Mount Hood provide a dazzling spectacle.

A local mountaineer recently saw that ice from an even more spectacular perspective: underneath the glacier.

Jared Smith helped out when a public broadcasting crew recently documented a team of climbers who are exploring glacier caves.

“It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life,” said Smith, a member of the Yacolt-based Volcano Rescue Team.

“It’s definitely one of the most beautiful and dangerous places in North America,” he said. “They go together.”

That’s because the ice caves are created by the gradual deterioration of the Sandy Glacier, on the northwest face of Mount Hood.

“There was continuous ice fall and rock fall through the day,” Smith said.

The caves, and the people who are exploring them, were the focus when “Oregon Field Guide” opened the 25th season of its weekly outdoors show earlier this month.

Cave explorers Brent McGregor and Eddy Cartaya have been mapping and exploring the Snow Dragon glacier cave system since 2011, according to OPB’s website.

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