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Climber who died in 600-foot fall identified

PORTLAND — A Seattle man died after plummeting 600 feet during a climb near the summit of Oregon's snow-capped Mount Hood.

Authorities on Monday identified the man as 32-year-old John Thorton Jenkins and said they had notified his family of the accident Sunday on the 11,240-foot mountain.

Jenkins suffered severe injuries after plummeting down steep terrain and was flown to a Portland-area hospital, where he died, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

He was in the Hogsback area near the summit and near an ice-covered section called the Pearly Gates when he lost his footing, Steve Rollins, of Portland Mountain Rescue, told KGW-TV.

"During a spring day like this it's not uncommon to see a couple hundred people trying to climb Mount Hood," he told the station.

Mount Hood is Oregon's tallest peak and attracts more than 10,000 climbers a year, many of whom make the ascent between April and June. Accidents, including fatalities, are not uncommon on the mountain.

Spring is the prime season for climbing Mount Hood because the weather is better but not so warm that the ice melts and loosens rocks. The peak is notorious for loose rocks in warm weather.

Weather on the mountain Sunday was sunny with high temperatures in the mid-30s.

The most fatalities in one accident were seven students from Oregon Episcopal School and two adults who died after they dug a snow cave during a sudden storm in May 1986.

High winds whip snow off the western ridges of Mount Hood in December 2009.. [AP Photo/Don Ryan, file]