As a professional guide with many summits of Mt Hood and a member of the MRA for 18 years, here is what I believe happened. The slope between devils kitchen and hogsback developes a low angle break close to where the engine block is located on crater rock before steepening again. On a whiteout descent its possible to think that you have reached the top of white river when you see the second steepening so u turn right and find urself in the middle slope of crater rock instead of at the base. A look at ur altitude will tell u that u are too high. This has pulled more than a few climbers but they have either been smart enough to retrace or heard other climbers talking to their left and so again move skiers left to get back on track. So we don't get to hear from them!!!
A compass would not have helped in that it would show u were on the correct heading. A altimeter would show you 200/300ft too high but that could be due to the lower barometric pressure with the new front. The best indication would be GPS, Once above Palmer, set a track up the mountain that you can follow back down. That would show the climber that they are off route. while climbing Mt Hood or any mountain, always look for geo hand rails that will help you recognize where you are. On S Hood, the Palmer lift at 8500ft, Twin Rocks at 9150ft, Upper Triangle at 9600ft, top of white river 10, 100ft. All approx
Water, I appreciate you sending us your version but you may have misrepresented PMR, how PMR members feels should come from PMR not hearsay from subject, sorry. Most of us have never needed to be rescued. Its not to play it forward. I joined Mountain Rescue because I believe we should all give back to our community, either thro service or financial contributions. I have a skill set that allows me to do this thro Mountain Rescue. This is why most people join Mountain Rescue.
Lastly I would ask climbers that are waiting on rescue to minimize phone usage. That phone is your connection to the outside world and may be needed by the rescue folk in the field to contact you. If that battery dies, so might you. Switch off wifi mode, tell the sheriff you will go to airplane mode and contact him at set intervals maybe every 1/2 hour or hour. In the end, you did stay calm and remained in place, both of which is not easy to do so kudos on that.