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1 killed, 4 injured in California mountain climbing falls

1 killed, 4 injured in California mountain climbing falls
Authorities say a mountain climbing guide has died and at least four other people have been injured while trying to summit California’s Mount Shasta in treacherous conditions over the past two days

A mountain climbing guide was killed and at least four other people were injured in separate accidents over the past two days while trying to summit the peak of Mount Shasta in Northern California in treacherous conditions, authorities said Tuesday.

Jillian Webster, 32, of Redmond, Oregon was leading a man and a woman Monday morning when one of the climbers slipped and all three, who were roped together, fell 1,500 to 2,500 feet, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said.

Webster was pronounced dead at a hospital while a rescue team found the man in critical condition with a head injury and a broken leg, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The woman had a broken ankle.

Both were taken to local hospitals where they were recovering, the Sheriff’s Office said.

On Monday, a man was injured after falling about 1,000 feet (300 meters) at 12:30 p.m., Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Courtney Kreider told SFGate. At 4 p.m., a woman who was part of the same trio of climbers also fell 1,000 feet and was airlifted to a hospital.

There was no immediate word on their conditions.

The latter two climbers lacked helmets and crampons that are necessary for snowy and icy conditions, said Nick Meyers, lead climbing ranger on Mount Shasta for the U.S. Forest Service.

“It was just a perfect storm of bad conditions, people on the mountain and inexperience,” Meyers told the San Francisco Chronicle.

At about 14,180 feet (4,322 meters) , Shasta is California’s fifth-tallest mountain and is located 275 miles (443 kilometers) north of San Francisco. It draws about 6,000 climbers to the summit each season.

Warming spring temperatures lure climbers to Shasta but a weekend cold spell brought rain, snow and fog and made the climb through popular Avalanche Gulf dangerous.

“We had snow over the weekend, just a little bit of snow, and it created this thin layer of ice,” Kreider said. “And when it warms up, that thin layer of ice sloughs off.”

The Sheriff’s Office urged people to avoid climbing the mountain over the next three days until conditions improve.