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cluck

3 Lost on Mount Hood

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texan , my heart goes out to your buddy who has friends on the mountian, arkansas , which is where kelly james grew up has a country boy up there too, shall we all pray?

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We cannot judge their preparation based upon some random forum comments alone. Let's leave the analysis of their preparation until after the situation is over and we know more overall.

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texan , my heart goes out to your buddy who has friends on the mountian, arkansas , which is where kelly james grew up has a country boy up there too, shall we all pray?

 

Cindy, darlin',

We are praying very hard for God's blessings and mercy upon the men, their families, and all who know and love them.

 

I believe that all of the people in the world who are following this tragedy are praying as one with you, with me, with my friends...

 

God is the only one who determines whether we live to take our next breath or not. His perfect will is so difficult to understand through our imperfect eyes. I am trying so hard to help my friend who is not doing well over the thought of Brian not being found well and safe today.

 

Prayers for a better tomorrow for the two lost climbers, and for each of us who care about them, and gentle love for the one who is in heaven, and for his family left to mourn him.

 

Signing off now. God bless you all.

 

Kenny, David, Lewis, Frank and Devon

Dallas, TX

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We cannot judge their preparation based upon some random forum comments alone. Let's leave the analysis of their preparation until after the situation is over and we know more overall.

 

Perhaps we can't judge their preparation, but we can question their judgment. Climbing high in any season in stormy conditions guarantees an epic. Summer or Winter, an epic can be deadly.

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I would argue the opposite. Gathering beta from those in the know is absolutely good preparation (and often much better than staid published information).

 

Until we have proof, let's stop speculating they did something wrong. You can do everything right and still have an accident. That is why we have the word in our language. And based on their experience and the families' description of their typical preparation, it is probable they did everything right. So stop the disrespect, please.

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mcmedved,

 

No worries, been dealing with this exact topic and the general climbing public for a couple of decades now. And frankly, I agree with you, unfortunately what we/I am seeing more often (and it doesn't necessarily apply to the three we are discussing) are the people who have the best gear, some experience, some a LOT of experience, but just not quite prepared for Mt. Hood in the winter. And it's amazing how many climbers begin a climb when there is a storm predicted. There is some thought that an impending storm attracts some people - based on numbers of climbers who sign the register - and not all do. But I agree with you - if you are prepared, vigilant and the conditions permit for a winter climb... Climb on! (and by the way, those people I try to convince out of climbing who end up being rescued - I never tell them "I told you so." because I see a lesson learned without the scolding - and I see myself in them too!)

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Texan,

I agree with your speculation on what might have happened. However, posting to this site is not a sign of poor preparation. On the contrary, this site is one of the best to get climbing beta, especially for the Northwest.

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Stranded climbers have lived a week or more in snow caves if they had adequate food and supplies. But Mr. James and his two companions planned a fast and light two-day trip up Mount Hood, according to notes they left behind. In e-mails detailing their packing lists, Mr. Cooke planned to carry a half sleeping bag – an insulated surface to sleep on – but it is unclear what gear the others took.

 

Mr. James and Mr. Hall had been in trouble before.

On their first climb together, they got caught in a white-out blizzard for five days atop Alaska's Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. After the storm broke, they scaled the mountain's 20,320-foot summit.

 

Mr. James has been climbing mountains for 25 years.

 

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Hello, why are they making the families wait until tomorrow to make positive identification of the body--they had cameras to take all the other pictures--including the cave, the footsteps, etc. WHY couldn't they take a picture of the deceased and show it to the family now so they could start closure!!!!!!!

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Hello Everyone,

 

I know those of us that are climbers realize that these men, and their efforts, embody the essence of many climbers - freedom to pursue life as we see fit. There have been a lot of opinions about whether they made a mistake climbing this time of year, indeed whether climbing is sane at all. I believe it comes down to this; life is ours to live. Let us all enjoy the journey, because we don't know where the destination is.

 

My sincere sympathy to those loved ones dealing with this. They may or may not understand what I have just said, but I do know that their sorrow is real.Those men knew what they were doing, and I personally applaud them for taking the first step up the mountain.

 

And for those voices out there hollering about the cost of rescue - most of the rescue parties consist of volunteers who also love the mountains. The military is going to do training exercises whether or not they are for real purposes or training. So yes, there is a $$ cost associated with this, but it is not as great as the media makes it out to be.

 

May we all learn something from this. Let's not make this loss of life meaningless.

 

 

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Based on the weather reports when they left, they should have had plenty of time to summit and descend safely with time to spare. Obviously, something went wrong and they got caught in the storm, which arrived a day earlier than predicted, complicating matters even more. Otherwise, they would be home drinking a beer and watching the Cowboys.

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I only replied to whoever to post this.

 

Not directed at you.

 

This is for those who want to judge their prep.

 

screw judgement on the preparation because some guys asked on a website.

 

This is retarded.

 

I ask many websites for first hand experience. I trust no one source especially guidebooks.

 

Get off of them. They did a great job. The mountains are not easy.

 

They are going to some court to play ball or some golf course. Things happen in our sport.

 

Quit acting like you all do every possible thing perfect and get off of them.

 

This sucks.

 

 

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we learn by observing.absorbing.remembering. and carrying on climbing .we all have done worse mistakes and survived.hindsight can be useful if we dont judge.

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There is a very good chance the family knows who it is and also there is a very good chance there are pictures. However, it is good judgement to not report at this time. It is common practice never give out a persons name that may be injured or deceased over the radio at anytime. The family knows.....

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Does anyone have timeline on the weather conditions for the Friday the men were on the face? My Seattle brother (climber) found a video of Hood shot from an aircraft that reports to be from that day. He says it shows what appear to be good conditions with sunny skies.

Edited by mcmedved

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Mt. Hood has always been a greatly underestimated Mt. and it has taken many people because of the unexpected. Even experienced mountaineers have gotten into trouble on this mountain.

 

I don't know anyone who I climb with that wants to die "doing what they love doing". The goal of mountaineering is to live. That is why my buddies and I take the risks of climbing on mountains.

 

These climbers were experienced and seem to have made an effort to get information prior to the climb. I don't think they underestimated the Mt. because other climbers reported they were geared up well. More than likely it was an accident. An avalanche or a fall where the anchors failed. A fall on the NF may have been the start of their problems as someone from Texas said.

 

I have seen the weather on hood change very quickly and I think this may have been a contributing factor as it certainly would have compounded the problem of survival after an accident. Weather would have been a serious problem, at that altitude, even without a prior accident. I have not heard that the climber in the cave had any heat source. As someone else pointed out so correctly,Mt. Hood in winter is cold, wet and windy. You can only survive so long under these conditions without an external heat source like a candle or better yet a stove to help dry clothes and to melt water or make a warm drink to keep you from hypothermia. Perhaps the other two climbers did fall and they took some critical gear like a stove with them.

 

There were two caves. The first cave seems to have gear for one person. They did not say what gear was in the second cave where they found the body. That might be a clue as to wether the other two climbers left gear behind when they went off to get help after their friend was hurt or it was just his gear, since his friends already died in a fall or avalanche. Two axes and a bag sounds to me like one ice tool and one axe and his bag. Does not sound like someone left gear.

 

The "Y" does not look like a signal to me. From what I saw on TV was a shot of an anchor. It looks like the picture of the rope anchor was turned horizontal. Perhaps he was belaying from the top? Perhaps the other two did leave him in the cave and descended the NF from that anchor and had an accident. I can not tell because of the scale. I am not sure if it's a buried anchor or made with ice screws into hard ice beneath the snow.

 

Nothing can bring back the one deceased climber and little can be said to console the families. Perhaps the dialog here will prevent others from going through the agony these families have experienced.

 

Condolences to the families for their loss and thanks to all the SAR people for their efforts.

 

 

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Ice climbing and ski mountaineering in the summer would be a much better way to go except for the fact there wouldn't be any ice or snow. Winter should be outlawed.

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Hello, why are they making the families wait until tomorrow to make positive identification of the body--they had cameras to take all the other pictures--including the cave, the footsteps, etc. WHY couldn't they take a picture of the deceased and show it to the family now so they could start closure!!!!!!!

 

Perhaps I can give some information here. I too had a family member die in a climbing accident, and the SAR team took pictures of him (my father) for me to identify, but I refused to look at the pictures (he was pretty beat up) because I did not want to remember him like that. It may also be possible that the body is not in a suitable condition to identify by visual means alone.

 

Just my two cents...

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I agree, they just can't give the information out to the media until a legal ID has been made. And that can't happen until a visual ID is made by someone he knows or a forensic ID is made. At least that is how it works in some states.

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You make a very good point. I have friends that are critical of the climb this time of year. We all have our own motivations. Mine happends to be altitude others are the elements, or combinations, etc.

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Just to chime in..

 

First to the family, friends of the three and to the SAR folks, my heart goes out to you all. From what I have read about the three, they are first rate climbers who got caught with some bad luck. It looks like they did their homework, and made sure people were aware of their itinerary

 

To the non-climbers, a couple of comments that might help you understand some things..

 

The first, is that while the three were/are hoping for help, they were more then likely prepared for self-rescue. When technical climbing such as on a big mountain (such as Hood), one cannot simply sit down and say "well I will wait here for help". This is not a hike in a park along an established trail with a ranger passing by. The most important safety practice that any mountaineer needs to take to the mountain is self support.

 

Some speculation on the reason for the two caves. It could have been that the two came back, and tried to assist the third (Kelly?) back to the summit, found that he couldn't make it and re-dug a 2nd cave, and then proceeded for help again. The discarded gear could have been Kelly's, which might not have been needed and therefore just extra weight.

 

On the "Y", it looks like an anchor setup, nothing more. In the terrain that they were in, it is possible that they anchored themselves in the cave.

 

On the terrain that they are dealing with. Here are some steepnesses of ski runs, 30 degrees is maybe a blue run, 35 degrees a black diamond, and 38 a double black diamond run. From a earlier comment, the route that was being climbing was around 60 to 68 degrees. (BTW, this angle is usually too steep for an avalanche since the snow just sloughs off, -- so the largest avalanche danger is from the terrain above where it may not be as steep - most avalanches start on slopes between 35-45 degrees). The other thing is that the type of snow climate in the PWN, the highest danger of an avalanche is during and right after a storm.

 

The problem with requiring mountaineers to carry radios, locating beacons, etc., is that it simply is a false sense of security, and would probably lead to more rescues of people who should not have been there in the first place (see above comment about self-support). The exception is avalanche beacons, and the main reason for that is that they are designed for a team self-rescue. In an avalanche, one has minutes to find someone who is buried. Anything over 30 minutes is usually body recovery.

 

As also stated earlier, one of the big concerns among climbers is regulation, especially after a huge media event such as this. Part of what makes climbing - climbing, is that it's an endeavor that allows one to test themselves in an environment where there is no regulations. A (getting geeky here) Star Trek Next Generation quote sums it up nicely

 

"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

 

To those concerned about the cost of the rescue, here is a study showing how climbing stacks up to other rescues http://www.americanalpineclub.org/pdfs/MRreal.pdf Bottom line, climbers are not the "problem". However they do end up being a target because of the spectacular media events that sometimes surround the rescue. The reason why the media is attracted to events such as this is because it's "news", they don't understand it - it's not mainstream, why would anyone go do something like that, etc.

 

Again to the family and friends of the three climbers, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

 

 

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There is a very good chance the family knows who it is and also there is a very good chance there are pictures. However, it is good judgement to not report at this time. It is common practice never give out a persons name that may be injured or deceased over the radio at anytime. The family knows.....

The poster who's brother was involved in the rescue confirmed that identification had been made.

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