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cluck

3 Lost on Mount Hood

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If you look at the photo of the footprints headed up the mountain from the area of the snowcave, it looks like there are two sets of steps at times. I can zoom in on the steps and on the upper part of the mountain there is a little light on them. Pretty sure there are two sets there, but I am possitive there there are two sets of tracks from ice axes digging in. The ice axe prints are two close together to be from one climber. I also don't think that if Kelly would have climbed that slope, that he would have down climbed it. Once you make that commitment, you are not turning around. We all know downclimbing is harder, even more so if you have to self belay. At that point you would definetly take the easy way down.

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I have read every post. -Good for you!

 

You have not. Re-read my post and understand what I said. You are obviously not a climber, so I will not waste any more time You're right - I do find many of your remarks to be a waste of time if not merely tedious in explaining it to you exceot for this last bit of info. which has been covered for several pages earlier in this forum: You descend the S. side under most conditions and after climbing up most of the routes on Hood. Actually climbers descend Mt. Hood by whichever route their skills and sense of pleasure lead them to, regardless of the way they came up. I used to think "Why the hell would I want to go back down the same way I came up - how boring". But then I came to realize that it all looks different when going back in the opposite direction - you see sides you didn't see of things you saw on the way up. This works even on dull slogs like Adams and St. Helens. But traverses are still my favorite. They're a little tough on Hood though - I thought the final pitch up to Jefferson would never arrive.

 

The climbers' original plan was to descend the S. side to Timberline to be picked up by friends. They left a note in their car that in case of an emergency they would descend Cooper Spur which is a ridge to the left of the N. Face and would return them back to their car where they left it at Cooper Spur ski area.

 

Look, people reading in here aren't going to go back and read almost 40 pages of comments just for the privilege of making their own in here.

 

The climbers' note just re-iterated the obvious: if an emergency arose such that coming back down Cooper Spur was what made the most sense then that's what they'd do. But if they got to a point where descending the south side in accordance with the original plan made the most sense, then you'd have to think they were fools to do otherwise. They weren't fools. They prepped pretty thoroughly for their adventure, it sounds, but things went to hell, as they quickly can up there. They're not going to descend Cooper Spur in any and every emergency situation. They had to have known that the fastest connection to civilization would be to try to reach Timberline Lodge. What, do you think that if they suffered an emergency 100' above Timberline Lodge they're then gonna head back up the mountain and down the NF just so they'd comply with what they'd written in their note?

 

I've "climbed" more Cascade peaks than you'll ever know including the very mountain at issue and, more importantly, I've turned back there and elsewhere when conditions indicated it would be wise. I've read enough posts in here to tell that you, on the other hand, are definitely arrogant, presumptive, probably foolhardy and therefore dangerous.

Edited by Zeta Male

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Anything is possible with old footprints in snow.

 

I am not trying to shoot you down. I am trying to be optimistic eventhough I am not.

 

I agree with someone else. Some who doesn't have the presence of mind to talk coherently did not dig two snow caves and pick which gear to leave.

 

I think the first cave with the "Y" is a rope and boulard. like most of you pointed out. They dug it the 1st cave, tried to rap out. Couldn't, came back and went to plan B. Get Kelly in the easier ground and get down. That didn't work, let's dig in here and wait.

 

you know what happened then.

 

Let's try to get down now, it is letting up.

 

It picks up again....

 

I don't think us talking about senarios is a bad thing. I think they were studs and did it all right. But we all know there is still a gamble involved.

 

If you all want me to quit with this I will. But it is nice to bullshit with others who know there shit.

 

This sucks. I hate seeing other climbers die.

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I agree that making the comment that one of the climbers was on an airplane doesn't sound too good but the other climber was going for help and so there is still hope... there was a second snow cave.

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I don't think anyone knows why one climber was left on his own by his two partners.

 

According to the phone call placed by James last Tues., the other two went to get help. That's why he was left alone. We don't know yet which of the climbers was found today.

 

Until the final chapter of this story is known, there are many more questions than there are answers, unfortunately.

 

It's worse than that:

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/121606dnmetclimbers.11dd082b.html'>http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/121606dnmetclimbers.11dd082b.html

 

"By the tone of his voice, I could tell something was really wrong," said 25-year-old Jason James. "I went into 911 mode."

 

He learned his dad was dug into a cave on the northern face of Mount Hood near the summit. Half an orange remained in his food supply, he was lying on his backpack to stay off the snow, and he was weak, cold and wet.

 

"He just said he was exhausted, and that's why he was stuck there," Jason James said.

 

The 48-year-old landscape architect offered "delirious" answers when asked about his climbing partners.

 

"He said Brian was in town looking for help and Nikko was on an airplane," Jason James said.

 

Disturbing quote from this article:

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/121606dnmetclimbers.11dd082b.html

 

But some members of the Hood River search-and rescue-group, the Cragrats, called last week's expedition up Mount Hood foolish and reckless.

 

"It really is risky," said Devon Wells, an assistant fire chief and Cragrat, who first scaled Mount Hood at 8 years old, the youngest person on record. "It seems like if they would have looked into any resources ... I doubt it would say, 'Climb Mount Hood in the middle of a snowstorm in December.' "

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Let's keep the random speculation to a constructive minimum here on the forums. So far it is unable to tell if the other two are lost, in a cave, if an avalanche occurred before Kelley James called, etc. etc.

 

Here's a basic list of things we do know:

- The climbers began their climb on Friday, December 8th with notes referring to a light and fast ascent. Left car at Cooper Spur trailhead area. Reports suggesting their intention was the north face of Hood via Cooper Spur or one of the twin gullies.

- Kelly James called his family in Dallas, TX on Sunday the 10th with unconfirmed reports of injury and the others going for help.

- The last cell phone ping received from Kelley James was Tuesday, the 12th.

- Sunday the 17th, a body has found in a snow cave 300ft below the summit on the north side.

- At this point in time the identity of the body is unknown.

- There was a second cave in the same general area of the first cave.

- The second cave contained several items. Many reports are stating these items are a length of rope, two ice axes, and a sleeping bag.

- There is a Y-shaped marker near the caves. Photo here: http://www.craigwalker.net/images/news/IMG_9564.JPG

- There are footsteps leading from one of the caves to the summit. They appear to be moving up and not down. They appear to have associated ice axe holes on both sides of the footprints. Photo here: http://www.craigwalker.net/images/news/IMG_9534.JPG

 

What else do we know for sure? Please modify this list as appropriate.

Edited by randyfranklin

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That doesn't explain the two snow caves...

 

Won't we know more about who built the caves when we know exactly where the second one was located, how each one's opening was oriented, and how well they each were dug in?

 

We have wondered if James could have made 2 snow caves, one before the driving icy snow and 100+ MPH winds hit which had exposure or was unstable in some way, and a second, perhaps rudimentary one hours later, trying to stay warmer, drier, to do something to aid in his survival.

 

I hope we know more very soon. I have buddies who know Brian, we've been glued to our TVs and the Internet all week.

I was the one who felt compelled to offer the hypothetical situation of Brian and Nikko dying first. No one else on this forum has been able to breach the topic, and I felt it was time to try to understand what might have happened.

 

We hope not and pray for Brian, Nikko, and all of the families.

I have a guy here who is taking this extremely hard..

I volunteered to post here.

 

Thanks for allowing me to.

Kenny

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There is much hope for the other two.

Regarding the two caves: We know they left for help after sheltering the first. Perhaps they were turned back, and tried to rejoin the snow cave. Failing to locate it in the severe weather, maybe they dug another cave in the vicinity. With 4 tools total, 2 could perhaps be left behind as they begin their second exit attempt towards the summit.

Everyone's praying they'll be found safely tomorrow!

 

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Finger, You're talking out of your ass. A lot of people climb Hood and many other mountains in the winter. Stick to subjects you know something about.

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Also, ascend Cooper Spur (car left at Cooper Spur Ski Area). Descend to Timberline Lodge where meeting friends on Dec. 9. When that didn't happen, authorities notified.

 

Sorry if this is obvious...

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i have been following closely all week .i have been lost and rescued off a mountain in winter after 5 days . i have climbed many high peaks. from this tragedy and the other rescue/recovery of couple lost in their car,i have learned that often when you split up, you in effect create two rescues.it makes sense to split up only if it is the LAST RESORT(no cell call or rescue plausible from friends knowing itinerary etc)or one is SURE of reaching help(good weather/visibility ,known escape route etc.)i was told by my rescuers that after they had a general idea of my from position it was better for me to wait there and really focus on making myself visible.i only bring this up for myself and others who will keep mountaineering knowing very well that WE DONT DECIDE MUCH in the mountains but we can try ..... those guys were very experienced yet they had to check out ....i guess it was time.....god bless their souls.

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Not saying people don't climb it, but either as my role as climbing ranger in the past, or wilderness ranger, or climber it was not a recommended time to climb Mt. Hood. But plenty of people do it, myself included, but we took bigger risks and I had/have plenty of climbing partners who won't go on it in the winter. And it makes sense, not that I have always followed the path of good sense!

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Once again Mt. Hood proves itself to be a serious mountain to the grief of those who would climb her. I learned that lesson in 1978 high on the Elliot Glacier in a cold mid-winter bivouac, the longest, coldest night of my life. We descended the next day in the teeth of a gale, opting to survive rather than summit. In the early 80's my partners and I climbed the North face in winter many times to train for harder, longer routes in Alaska. We did ascents of both gullies, the cleaver, Cathedral Spire Buttress, the Elliot headwall... even a scary unplanned girdle traverse to escape the face to Cooper Spur, but I never forgot that first long cold night in the 'schrund below the hourglass. After that night I always approached Mt. Hood with respect and caution, even after success on much colder and more technical mountains farther North. Personally, I am never surprised to learn that another life has been lost on our mountain. Climbers take risks on Mt. Hood that they would not take on more "serious" peaks, perhaps because of a perception that our mountain is not. The lack of surprise does not make it any less tragic. Those of us who have lost friends in the mountains know the grief and heartbreak that goes with the loss. I hope that the friends and family of our new lost brother find peace, and hope that his partners are found safe.

 

Jay Kerr

Portland, OR

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Just wanted to respond to the posters from Dallas who speculated that James' partners died before he called home.

 

I doubt this is the case. From my climbing experience, teams are almost always roped together during the steeper/more challenging portions of the climb. Thus, a fall or avalanche is likely to take the entire team, not just two members.

 

I'd also like to respond to the comments from others who are concerned with the lack of cell phone contact from the other two climbers. Dead batteries are a very likely scenario. It's easy to accidentally leave the phone on while climbing. The cold temperatures will rapidly deplete the batteries.

 

It's easy to think of negative scenarios, but these aren't helpful to the loved ones who visit this forum. Rather, let's focus on the positive scenarios and the real possibility that two climbers are still alive.

 

 

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msquared, do you have a link to an official report that someone was supposed to be waiting for them at Timberline Lodge. I've seen that discussed here in the thread but I think that is conjecture so far.

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Some members of the Hood River search-and rescue-group, the Cragrats, called last week's expedition up Mount Hood foolish and reckless.

 

"It really is risky," said Devon Wells, an assistant fire chief and Cragrat, who first scaled Mount Hood at 8 years old, the youngest person on record. "It seems like if they would have looked into any resources ... I doubt it would say, 'Climb Mount Hood in the middle of a snowstorm in December.' "

 

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Just wanted to respond to the posters from Dallas who speculated that James' partners died before he called home.

 

I doubt this is the case. From my climbing experience, teams are almost always roped together during the steeper/more challenging portions of the climb. Thus, a fall or avalanche is likely to take the entire team, not just two members.

 

 

 

Could it be possible that this is how he was injured and simply unroped and left his partners?

 

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I watched an interview with Kelly's wife (yesterday morning, I believe), and I swear she said her son called Kelly, not the other way around. Anybody else see the interview?

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Finger,

Sorry for being so indelicate in my wording. Everyone's intitled to their personal criteria for a safe climb. I just meant to indicate that if you are prepared and vigilant, and the conditions are right, you can have a safe, fun winter climb.

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Some members of the Hood River search-and rescue-group, the Cragrats, called last week's expedition up Mount Hood foolish and reckless.

 

"It really is risky," said Devon Wells, an assistant fire chief and Cragrat, who first scaled Mount Hood at 8 years old, the youngest person on record. "It seems like if they would have looked into any resources ... I doubt it would say, 'Climb Mount Hood in the middle of a snowstorm in December.' "

 

Let's not forget that Nikko posted to THIS forum in November as fuggedaboutit saying that he couldn't find good winter trail maps for Mt. Hood, asking about lodging, wanting to know how to get to certain trails, if one trail was a better approach than another, what size and type gear to take...

 

And HE was the leader of the climb!!!

 

They may have been experienced. but this is not the same as meticulous preparation!!!

 

 

 

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Just wanted to respond to the posters from Dallas who speculated that James' partners died before he called home.

 

I doubt this is the case. From my climbing experience, teams are almost always roped together during the steeper/more challenging portions of the climb. Thus, a fall or avalanche is likely to take the entire team, not just two members.

 

Could it be possible that this is how he was injured and simply unroped and left his partners?

 

 

Nothing that the searchers have reported would suggest that an accident took place near either of the snow caves. Again, just trying to focus on positive scenarios.

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