GO AHEAD AND BACKUP Mount St. Helens, Washington (CNN)
-- Rescue crews in Washington state will try again Tuesday to get to a hiker who fell 1,500 feet into the crater of Mount St. Helens volcano.
The 52-year-old hiker was with another hiker Monday afternoon at the summit, near the edge of the crater, when the accident occurred, according to Dave Cox, public information officer with the Skamania County, Washington, Sheriff's Department. The man was posing for a picture when he fell into the volcano, said Chief Tom McDowell, who headed up one of the rescue teams. "Someone was taking a picture of him, so they could get the mountains in the background," McDowell told CNN affiliate KATU. The man also had taken off his jacket because he had gotten hot during the climb.
"When he fell he would not have had a lot of padding or a lot of insulation when he hit," McDowell said.
Rescuers were planning to meet Tuesday morning to figure out how to resume rescue efforts.
Authorities were frustrated Monday when they got within 500 feet of the man but could not reach him because of weather conditions. Rescue efforts were suspended Monday night because of darkness, air turbulence and falling rocks, according to Cox.
The man was a veteran of the climb, having attempted it more than 60 times, the affiliate reported.
"The climber was standing on a cornice of snow on the edge of the crater, about five feet from the actual edge itself, and the cornice gave way and he fell into the crater," Cox said.
The man did not fall all the way to the crater bottom, Cox said, adding that the man landed on a 70-degree slope on the crater wall.
Helicopter pilots believe they saw the hiker moving. "They thought they saw his head moving around, and a climber on the rim thought [he] heard an emergency whistle blowing," Cox told CNN.
"We just hope his injuries are such that he can hang on long enough for us to get help to him and get him out of there."
Cox said emergency personnel were able to put a medic on the crater floor early in the effort, with the plan that the medic would climb up to the hiker. Falling rocks and high winds prevented the climb, Cox said, and the medic was pulled out for his safety.
The U.S. Coast Guard in Astoria, Oregon, sent an MH-60 Jay Hawk helicopter to the scene but was unable to reach the hiker because of "powerful downdrafts in the area," according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert.
Eggert said "some survival equipment or some kind of supplies" were lowered to the area, but he did not know if the hiker could get to them.
"[I] don't know how many miles per hour winds were blowing, but it was enough that they had to abort the mission." Eggert said. "Right now we are on standby until the sheriff's department asks us back." Mount St. Helens
is an active volcano. According to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Web site climbing update page, warnings about unstable cornices on the crater rim are posted. Every year thousands of climbers make the journey to the crater rim, according to the Web site, and permits are required to go above 4,800 feet.
A major eruption at Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, leveled nearly 150 square miles of forest and killed 57 people.