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Three Climbers Missing on Oregon's Mount Hood

By GreatOutdoors Staff - December 21st, 2006

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Officials have called off the search for Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke almost two weeks after the pair, and Kelly James, a third member of the party, went missing on the mountain during a strong storm.

Dec 19, 2006 - The body of Kelly James was recovered in a snow cave on Mount Hood's north side, according to officials at Mount Hood National Forest. The other two climbers in the party, Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke, remain missing and are feared to have fallen or been avalanched off the mountain. Photos taken from Kelly James camera show the climbers were not outfitted properly for an extended period of exposure to wintry conditions. The search continues, but on Tuesday reverted to an air search as avalanche conditions worsen with the approach of a new Pacific storm system.

Dec 13, 2006 - A strong Pacific storm with high winds, freezing temperatures and heavy snow has prevented rescuers on Mount Hood from climbing up to look for the missing climbers, according to officials at Mount Hood National Forest. Bad weather may mean a delay of up to 48 hours before search efforts can resume high on the mountain.

Dec 11, 2006 - Officials at Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest said that three climbers are currently missing on the 11,235-foot mountain after an attempt on one of the peak's challenging north side routes. The climbers had planned to spend at least one or two nights on their ascent, but are now overdue. Rangers said that one of the climbers had contacted his family via cell phone from a snow cave near the summit, saying his two companions had gone for help. Since then, rangers and rescue personnel have been unable to re-establish contact with that climber, and none of the three climbers has been sighted. High winds and cold temperatures have hampered the search effort. The peak, approximately 50 miles east of Portland, Oregon, is one of the most popular of all the Cascade volcanoes, but attempts on the difficult north side routes are seldom made in winter conditions.


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