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Mount Shasta climber dies in fall

A 33-year-old woman died after sliding up to 1,500 feet while climbing Mount Shasta in California on Friday, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office.

The name of the woman is being withheld along with the two other men in her climbing party until her family can be notified, sheriff's officials stated in a press release issued Sunday. An autopsy will be conducted this week.

Around 8:30 a.m. Friday, the group was climbing the Avalanche Gulch route on the southwest side of 14,400-foot Mount Shasta at an elevation of 11,300 feet.

In an area known as the "Heart," the woman slipped and fell 600 to 1,500 feet.

When the men found her, she had suffered major head injuries, wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse, sheriff's officials said.

The men attempted to resuscitate her, but she didn't respond.

They then contacted another man, 20-year-old Daniel Kirk of Tucson, Ariz., who activated a personal locator beacon as he and his climbing partners discovered the two men and the dead woman.

Kirk then used his cell phone to call the California Office of Emergency Services. Kirk was climbing with 23-year-old Clayton Mansfield, also of Tucson.

All four men helped bring the woman down to an area just above Lake Helen, a flat bench at the 10,400-foot elevation.

The sheriff's office assembled a search and rescue team at the Bunny Flat trailhead at the end of Everett Memorial Highway on Mount Shasta.

A helicopter from the California Highway Patrol in Redding flew over Lake Helen at about 1 p.m. Friday. After spotting the party, the helicopter returned to Bunny Flat to pick up Deputy Sheriff Ken Richardson. The pilot and Richardson loaded the dead woman into the helicopter and returned to Bunny Flat.

Sheriff's officials stated this was the first time the woman and two men had attempted to climb Mount Shasta and they had camped at Horse Camp the night before their ascent. They each had an ice ax and wore crampons but didn't have helmets, according to sheriff's officials.

The last time there was a fatality on the mountain during a climb was on March 16, 2004, according to the Mount Shasta Wilderness and Climbing Advisory Web site.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

Correction: The original version of this story misspelled Tucson. This version has been corrected.