PORTLAND, Ore. — Popping the big question is not as simple as it used to be. Marriage proposals now come complete with musical numbers, daring feats, and yes, even flash mobs.       

So with Oregon being an adventurer’s paradise, you can expect some pretty extreme marriage proposals. And that's what a Portland couple got on Mount Hood this spring.

Cole Ahnberg and his girlfriend Chelsea Whitfield moved to Portland in 2016 and fell in love with mountaineering together. Since then the two adventurers have climbed the Mount Hood together, growing closer together in the process.

“It's the hardest and most beautiful thing we've accomplished together in life thus far, mountaineering that is,” Whitfield said.

It was only fitting that Ahnberg ask Whitfield to spend the rest of their lives together while climbing the iconic mountain. He started planning the perfect proposal at the summit back in November 2018.

He set the day for May 18 with fellow climbers and friends there to capture it all. The forecast called for clear skies and mild temperatures, but Mother Nature had other plans.

The group was caught in lenticular cloud for much of the climb. But frigid, wet and dangerous conditions couldn’t stop love. 

“Since we were in a cloud all the moisture froze immediately on us. Hence the frozen hair,” Whitfield said of photos at the moment.

Wedding proposal on Mount Hood
The proposal on Mount Hood.
Karley Olsten

Fighting the weather and fearing hypothermia, the group reached 9,050 feet near Palmer when they decided to turn back. That’s when Ahnberg got down on one knee and asked Whitfield to be his wife.

“I honestly didn't believe him at all. I was sure I was having elevation sickness,” Whitfield said. “I couldn't understand. He just asked me to marry him, what?”  

She, of course, said yes.

The couple will tie the knot at Mount Hood Organic Farms in August 2020 with a view of the mountain as their backdrop.

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