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3 Lost on Mount Hood

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NOTE

This is a closed thread, the first of two relating to the recent search on Mt Hood. This thread is not open to comment or additions, but is kept at the top of the forum as a source of information and chronology for those interested in events and research.

 

Off White - moderator at Cascadeclimbers.com

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Hood River Sheriff's office is leading a search for 3 missing climbers lost on the North Side of Hood. Apparently, a party of 3 headed up Elliot Headwall on Wednesday or Thursday but never met their ride at Timberline. One of the 3 was able to get a brief call out to his wife today and reported that they had been stuck in a snow cave somewhere below the summit for several days. I guess his 2 buddies left him to go down Cooper Spur for help sometime either Saturday or Sunday and have not been heard from since.

 

News Link

 

At this point, it sounds like there is one person in pretty bad shape stuck in a snow hole on the North side near the summit and 2 more lost somewhere on the North side. Weather conditions on the south side today were pretty nuclear and I expect the north side was no picnic either. The rescue attempt will be a difficult and complicated one. PMR and Hood River Crag Rats are sending teams up at first light tomorrow.

 

Sure hope these guys make it out of this mess. My thoughts & prayers go out to them and their families...

Edited by Off_White

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My thoughts & prayers go out to them and their families...

 

And to the brave few going up to get them. Hoping they have great conditions and no loose rock or ice blocks if they decide to rap down the N Face.

 

shit

Edited by billcoe

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I'm en route.

 

Spent today patrolling at Meadows. Got knocked over by a 70+ MPH gust at the top of Cascade. The WX is Ghetto.

 

Poor guys.

 

More later...

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Man, this is terrible. I think our party met them when we were in the area Thursday. Here's to hoping for a good outcome, and for a safe return for the SAR people, as well.

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Man, this sucks. I'm sure they've had a rough couple of days up there. Hopefully the PMR folks will get go get them and bring them all back safe.

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Hey ya'll.

 

Apparently the climbers are fairly experienced. Sounds like they've got experience on Rainier, Denali and the Andes. That's the good news.

 

The bad news is they left Friday from Tilly Jane and planned to finish Saturday at T-Line. Of course, if they're that experienced perhaps they're used to digging in for a couple of nights. Sounds like they had bivy sacks, too!

 

I'm told they left a note at the Parkdale ranger station detailing their route and experience. Sounds like they were going climbers right on the Elliot... not the Cooper Spur route.

 

Best of luck to everyone...

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Damn it must be a howling gadamn gale up there right now.

 

Shit.

 

Anybody wants to pray, pray for a weather window for these guys right now.

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Sometime early Thursday morning, the men, who have not been identified by authorities, slipped a handwritten note in the mail slot of the office for the Hood River National Forest, said Doug Jones, permit specialist with the Mount Hood National Forest.

 

“We don’t see these very often,” Jones said.

 

All entry points into the wilderness have self-issue permit boxes where climbers and hikers are supposed to leave their permits to enter the forest, “but they are not really kept up during the winter,” Jones said.

 

He said there is no climbing register where the men started their climb. He said there is a permit box, but since they are not from the area it is likely they did not spot it, Jones said. The climbers instead jotted a note and left it at the forest office on Oregon 35, south of Hood River.

 

He said in the brief note they said they planned to take the route through the coulirs, or canyons, on the north face, “which tells me that they are probably going up to the right side of Elliot Glacier,” Jones said. “The Cooper Spur route goes left. There are no coulirs up there.”

 

Uggghh.

 

Edited by Winter

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I noticed that foggetaboutit was asking for beta on the NF of Hood and had planned to climb around the 2nd week of December. I wonder of this is his group...

 

We were up skiing yesterday and the weather sucked above T-line. My hubby left early this morning to help with the search, it's not going to be fun for those guys and for the climbers in need of help.

BEST WISHES FOR ALL.

 

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Looking at fuggedaboudit's post from a while back, it sure does look like it could be them. One of his comments included the following:

 

"I will definetely post pics and a TR with approach conditions. Also will be trying out a half sleeping bag/DAS parka bivy system, will let you all know exactly how much that sucks if I have to use it-yes I know, "if you bring bivy gear you will bivy"."

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Oh man well let's hope they did bring that bivy sack.....Praying that everyone stays safe up here....

Edited by ryland_moore

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He said in the brief note they said they planned to take the route through the coulirs, or canyons, on the north face, “which tells me that they are probably going up to the right side of Elliot Glacier,” Jones said. “The Cooper Spur route goes left. There are no coulirs up there.”

 

Uggghh.

 

Hmmmm - more likely be one of the 2 North Face couloir routes up on the left of the NF, to the right of the Cooper Spur route. That would also minimise the slog in in deep snow, shorten a long winter hike a bit, and minimize the potential of ripping through a crevase on the Elliot or Coe Glacier as you crossed since many of the openings are most likly somewhat likely covered by snow now. Given the amount of snow lately, wonder if looking at the base of those routes - checking for obvious avalance debris - for the 2 guys who left the snowcave is the highest likelyhood of finding them.

 

Did cell phone caller have an altimeter reading? It would be a lot easier to get to him if he's in one of the gullys than trying to drop down the Elliot which probably has a bit of a nasty overhanging cornice on it right now given how the weathers been I'd bet.

 

He might be in luck if he's only a pitch or 2 from the top.

 

2072Pat_Pete2.JPG

 

Image of the NF avalance gully by crackman in better conditions 2004 (TimmyH). Coinkadentally, Tim was trolling for a partner to head up on the 7th to do about any route on Hood, Tim check in yet?

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Being stuck at home during all this, I spend most of my time speculating what happend to that climbing group and what's currently going on up there now. I am worried about avalanche conditions (there is more snow to come on top of a nice layer of ice) and very poor visibility. Weather is only expected to get worse.

 

It sucks knowing that there is someone alive up there who needs help, yet weather isn't cooperating to allow searchers to get to that person very easily. Also, they need to find the other two climbers that left to go get help. AHH. How frusterating!

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Last I heard, the guy in the snowcave was around 11,000ft. In addition to searchers on the Northside, there is a group heading up from the Southside of Hood to try to reach him.

Edited by lbeam

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I'm not sure this is at all helpful at this point, but I did talk to these guys early afternoon on Thursday at the TJ cabin and I got the distinct impression they were heading for one of the standard North Face lines, and not Cooper Spur or Eliot Headwall. Four of us had been climbing ice flows on the left side of the Eliot that day and I stopped at the cabin to get an empty water bottle I had left on the way up. They asked for any info on how to get down onto the Eliot since they would be doing it in the dark, asked how safe I thought it was traveling on the glacier, and wanted a guess on how long it would take them to reach the schrund at the base of the NF gullies. They never really said exactly what line they were climbing, but they asked for any beta on the routes. I told them what I could about the right gully, the only line I've done. They were completely unfazed at the possibility of some WI3 and lots of 45-50 degree mileage. I had the impression the route was well within their abilities. I knew they would be carrying over, but didn't get a chance to see how they were equipped for camping.

 

They seemed like great guys. Offered to fill my water bottle and offered all of us cocoa. Had the cabin fired up and warm and seemed very enthused about their climb. I wished them luck and told them I hoped the weather held for them. The last weather report I'd seen on Wednesday eve made it look like Thursday was the last decent day for some time. I am really hoping to hear good news sometime soon.

 

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Looked at fuggedaboudit's profile and old posts, and saw that he was the guy who posted a TR about doing Lib. Ridge back in June of this year. So he probably has some skills.

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DonnV,

 

If you talked to them after they wrote their note for the rangers, you should probably call the ranger station and let them know about your conversation. Seems like those kind of details might aid the search.

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