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fern

MT Hood Continued

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1.What would be the reason then they climbed down back north side instead of the south side, as they supposedly planned?

 

2.Is it possible that the mountain (or its top) was covered with clouds on those days or perhaps they rather summited on Saturday.

 

3. Is it certain from the footprints on the summit or other evidence if exists that the three of them summated?

 

As to #1... My thinking right now is they tried for Cooper spur on descent. Like others have said, they saw Cooper Spur on the approach (maybe on the climb too?), they didn't see the South route, so familiarity for one reason (I have something in common with these guys in that I have not climbed the North Side of Hood, I would see CSpur as a possible descent/bail-out route if I was unfamiliar with the South and climbing the NF.

 

If the weather was starting to come in it would most likely be coming from the south to west which would make a North side bivy or descent feel like a good choice.

 

Also, one of the notes did mention cooper spur as a bail out route if things went bad so they already were thinking that way.

 

As to #2... Their note made it seem like the main climbing day was Friday which as that video showed earlier was a good weather day but with some high clouds. I think they orig planned to be off the mountain by Friday evening at the latest. Its certainly possible they got slowed and had to bivy Friday night.

 

As to #3... I wouldnt speculate as to if they summited or not - suffice to say, for me it makes sense that they would stick to a Northerly aspect though.

 

obviously speculation on my part

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Good call on the California cascades and peaks.

 

Lassen is a very fun mountain with a paking lot and road at the base when the road is open. It's nice and steep in the winter too so it gives a strenous ascent. There is risk, you could fall and hit a rock. The snow usually covers the switchbacks that you can see in summer so just go up.

Big plus is the active geothermal areas in the park. Lots of other nice climbs such as brokeoff mt. 9700 feet. Not big but great entry level experience, if there's such a thing. Both can be done in tennis shoes in summer.

 

Shasta is also a really nice mountain. They have a ranger at helen lake 10K feet. The ridge routes are great in winter and the obviously named avalanche gulch is pretty much avoided in winter but still has rockfall in summer.

It has a good approach and usually takes 2 days. It can be done in a day from bunny flat. The "standard route".

But this is also a mountain that can come at you hard when you least expect it, just like Hood. 14K+ feet.

 

White Mountain peak is also a good mt. to summit. It's long, 15 miles round trip and easy to do in one day. The UC high altitude research station is on the trail. Also 14K+ feet.

 

Hiring a guide for your first experience/class would be a good investment in your safety if you want to climb. There are some really great outfits at all the mountains. I took a raineer summit and introductory mountaineering class, it was fun and I learned a lot. It made me aware of safety and the importance of learning more skills.

 

I don't understand why they did not call 911 right off when the phone worked. I am sure the sequence of events will explain this question.

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Hi LH -

#1 - This site has some route information, although perhaps less complete than you'd like.

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150189/mount-hood.html

 

#5 - I think people have climbed to the top via southside w/o gear, but that is a very very very risky thing to do unless you're a climber and know exactly what to expect. The big-helicopter-crash accident of a few years ago occurred on the "easy" route

Thanks for the response. You refer to the helicopter accident which I've seen footage of on Youtube. The mountain was covered with snow.

 

Did they die from the impact with rocks buried not far beneath the snow surface? If not, then what from?

 

I present these links for your review. Is it Tie-In Rock? Is it the top of Mt. Hood? Were you talking about winter only? Or are these pics somewhere else on Mt. Hood, nowhere near the top? The people aren't mountain climbers and they're only hiking. Pages 2 and 3 of the first link show people dressed for summertime, standing next to ice that isn't melting. OK, is it 30 degrees or 80 degrees? I don't get it.

 

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://thumb7.webshots.com/s/thumb3/1/67/65/174816765oyifXJ_th.jpg&imgrefurl=http://community.webshots.com/album/174816012uIoKRT&h=75&w=100&sz=2&hl=en&start=22&tbnid=B23s8vQDjPeQSM:&tbnh=62&tbnw=82&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtie-in-rock%26start%3D18%26ndsp%3D18%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN

 

 

http://adamschneider.net/photos/2005-07-cs/image/p7192036.jpg

 

 

 

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1.What would be the reason then they climbed down back north side instead of the south side, as they supposedly planned?

 

2.Is it possible that the mountain (or its top) was covered with clouds on those days or perhaps they rather summited on Saturday.

 

3. Is it certain from the footprints on the summit or other evidence if exists that the three of them summated?

 

As to #1... My thinking right now is they tried for Cooper spur on descent. Like others have said, they saw Cooper Spur on the approach (maybe on the climb too?), they didn't see the South route, so familiarity for one reason (I have something in common with these guys in that I have not climbed the North Side of Hood, I would see CSpur as a possible descent/bail-out route if I was unfamiliar with the South and climbing the NF.

 

If the weather was starting to come in it would most likely be coming from the south to west which would make a North side bivy or descent feel like a good choice.

 

Also, one of the notes did mention cooper spur as a bail out route if things went bad so they already were thinking that way.

 

As to #2... Their note made it seem like the main climbing day was Friday which as that video showed earlier was a good weather day but with some high clouds. I think they orig planned to be off the mountain by Friday evening at the latest. Its certainly possible they got slowed and had to bivy Friday night.

 

As to #3... I wouldnt speculate as to if they summited or not - suffice to say, for me it makes sense that they would stick to a Northerly aspect though.

 

obviously speculation on my part

 

What is the evidence and certainty of that evidence? Footprints if belonged to three or two climbers can be analyzed. Weather (clouds) and exact location on certain days can be checked (e.g. webcam).

 

The north side from the top looks steep and scary, south site only steep but not that much and only at the beginning. If they did their homework (and almost certainly they did), they would have known for sure that the south side was much, much simpler.

 

I just cannot buy the given scenario with mixed facts. Maybe there are some facts declared confidential?!

 

These climbers were supposed to be very experienced in mountaineering. Taking a risk and going light before storm is one thing (and common) but attempting to descend steep slope on north side while already being on the top and having choice of much gentler south side even in limited visibility is completely different.

 

We are not talking here about “idiots”!!! All decisions are based on many factors. If they have seen a bad weather coming from south they must have known that the whole mountain would have been sucked practically at the same time, so still south side would give better chances of survival. And if it was me, I would still consider the top ridge to be better place to dig a cave than so steep slop, especially on north side, and especially in case if I would have to be rescued.

 

I just don’t buy it. I want to know the true. I think everyone deserve it. These two other climbers are still not found!!! The time is running fast.

 

Anyone can help please?

 

Is anyone competent reading this still or every one already gave up?

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1. Is there an online resource anyone knows of that shows the topography, with parts labeled?

2. Would Tie-In-Rock be THE highest point of the 'summit' where the elevation measurement is taken, and where most climbers who wanted to say they had been to the very top would want to reach? The media keeps saying that the caves were just below the summit, yet the helo pics show what looks like a very wide ridge that you could walk across for awhile. Tie-In-Rock is not like that. It's a pointed rock.

3. Are the huge ragged rocks where it showed the airlift taking place the pearly gates? Or are those big nasty rocks part of the hogback? There appear to be more than two, and its been said that they tried to decend a path between them and couldn't find it due to conditions. I don't know which two are the 'gates' and haven't seen all of them shot in one photo with a camera that's wide enough. That must be the south side cause all the postcard pics show the n. side.

4. I don't know that I buy the sheriffs account of what happened, that the 3 spent the first night together in a cave, especially after hearing the interview with the first rescuer to reach Kelly. I've heard for a week now that the south side is so much easier to climb than the north side. Could wind conditions and visibility on the south be SO much worse than the north, that whatever the reason was that the two climbers felt they HAD to get off that mountain immediately would cause them to backtrack and go down a very difficult descent? Is that consistent with typical of Pacific storms, that the wind encircles around from the west to the south, rather than the north? And if they tried to go back down the same path they came up, where are the foot tracks?

5. I've read how many people 'set out' to climb Mt. Hood every year, but that doesn't mean they go to the top. I've seen pictures of people in t-shirts and shorts climbing Mt. Hood and standing next to glaciers at the top. Some pics had MINIMAL snow at Elliot, surrounded by dry rock. What months are best to go to get a happy medium between some snow, but no where near what there is now? Can you EVER hike/rock climb to the very top without climbing 'gear' or hanging from anything? Is it considered so dangerous and narrow, such that if you fall to one side, you're gonna keep falling awhile and potentially get hurt? I'd never want to get hurt up there under any circumstances. I'd want to go to the top, but how high should I go and when should I do it? How many hours up and down if you camp or stay as close up as possible to cut down time the next day? Where's the closest to the top they'll let you camp out at night if you took sleeping bags so that you didn't have to do both directions in one day? or is that possible?

6. I heard a rescuer say today that you could last through several days in a 32 degree snow cave when it was -30 outside. I had assumed that the severe cold is what made them take desperate measures to save their lives. Even with a food shortage and a severe arm injury, what would then cause you to not just stay put for longer?

7. Are anchors used to go either up OR down? What do we know as fact, based on a Y shaped anchor pointing downward? I googled pics on anchors and found nothing like that. I can't envision them using that for anything. They said it was to hold them to the side of the mountain during a storm. Really? In a Y shape pointing down? These weren't window washers. Would they have used other ropes to tie to the anchor to lower themselves down a level, then leave the anchor there? What do they then do for ropes if needed again? The pic looks very steep unless the cam was pointed straight down at the ground. I wish we could get some pics of that thing in relation to the side of the mountain. Every bit if info just opens a can of questions for me. This is like a mystery and I feel like a detective. This isn't suppose to be like the Jon Benet case.

8. The sheriff said that aluminum anchors were dug into snow. Bad choice of words perhaps, but snow won't hold any weight. Did he mean rock beneath snow? What's a good web page for 'anchors 101' cause right now I don't even know how people get those hooks into rock, and I certainly can't see doing it in a blizzard conditions.

 

Hell, I've got nothing else to do, and I'm a pretty fast typist, so I'll take a shot at some of these. Hope it helps, and hope I don't screw it up due to it being late and me being tired. This being CC.com, I'm sure someone will let us know if I slip up.

 

1) I don't know of a good resource off the top of my head. It can be difficult to compare pictures of glaciers if you don't already know them, because they look very different at different times of the year, with different amounts of snow on them.

 

2) Tie-In Rock is not the summit of the mountain. It is a point pretty high up on the Cooper Spur ridge (about 8800' elevation) that is the traditional point where Cooper Spur transitions from a "hike" to a "climb". It is where the Spur gets much steeper, and beyond that point, it's climbers-only. Very hard to identify distinctly when covered with snow, as things are now. The ridge that had all the people you saw from the helo is a ridge that extends from the very summit toward the SE. Off the back (non-sunny) side of that ridge is the top of Cooper Spur.

 

3) The "Pearly Gates" are a couple of hundred feet below the actual summit. There's a fairly narrow (20'?) slot between the rocks that is the standard path up to the top from the south side route, but there are some alternate routes between the rocks, depending upon snow conditions. If you've been to the top of Hood before, it's pretty easy to find the correct route down through these. In bad visibility, and never having been there before, it would be hard. There was a very experienced group of Hood climbers that spent some quality time in a summit snow cave a few years ago, largely because they couldn't find the correct route down in bad conditions.

 

4) The strongest weather systems that hit the NW are those that come ripping basically straight onshore, west to east. This puts the standard south side route right in the teeth of those winds. The Cooper Spur side is normally, I suppose, sort of out of the worst of the wind. But that side is also therefore heavily at risk for avalanche danger because it's where lots of blown snow gets deposited. This blown snow could easily cover any tracks. In minutes.

 

5) The "normal" climbing season is late spring and early summer. Weather is better, and the snow is consolidated. A climb up Hood can vary between a seemingly very casual hike and, obviously, a brutally harsh, serious undertaking. Lots of people climb it every year with essentially no equipment. Not my way to do it, but some do. Even the easiest route has some moderately steep terrain, and all is well as long as you don't fall. Conditions can be really nice below, but icy above, and vice versa. One of the reasons people climb the mountain in varied seasons is to get experience with a wide array of conditions. You can camp out pretty much anywhere along the route (outside the ski areas), including the top if you're so inclined. Spending a night on top is not a rare thing for people to do in good weather.

 

6) A snow cave can be pretty cozy and toasty, albeit humid. If you've got protection from the moisture and coldish temps, you can live in one for a very long time, as long as you've got food and water. Especially water. Gotta have a way to get water. If it's pretty warm inside, you could theoretically drink dripping snow melt, but that's not enough. Best would be having a stove (and pot) to melt snow to drink, but obviously, you're then limited by stove fuel quantities. Any "desperate measures" (leaving a snow cave) taken by these guys is probably related to not having a way to get water, or related to realizing the onset of hypothermia, and knowing that they have to do something.

 

7) Anchors are indeed for going both up and down. "Going up" can suddenly turn into a "going down" if someone falls, and anchors are designed to hold one or more people if they fall. That 'Y' shape is pretty common for a snow anchor. I don't know if the alleged 'Y' that has been shown in pics is really their anchor, or something else, as Iain indicated. I'd probably trust Iain on this one. Anchors do often look sorta 'Y'ish because there are two pieces or equipment buried in the snow, and then there is rope or slings or something attached to the two pieces of equipment, and then they come together into a common attachment point on the downhill side. So really, it's typically more of a 'V' than a 'Y', but a 'Y' could work as well. If they want to lower themselves down the mountain (rappel), they run their rope through that common anchor attachment point so that it hangs from the center of the rope, hang off both strands of rope to descend, and then once reaching the end of the ropes, untie from it and pull on one end of the rope to bring it down to them. The anchor stuff up above, unfortunately, will have to stay there. If they want to repeat this lowering process, they'd have to build another anchor. Obviously, doing this over and over requires a lot of gear, and nobody carries that many pickets with them. There are other ways to build anchors in snow that don't require so much equipment, but the pickets thing is arguably easiest.

 

8) The anchors they would have probably built didn't have anything to do with rock. They were most likely snow anchors, probably built with what we call "pickets". These are typically about 2 feet long, made of aluminum, and with a 'T' cross section. You attach a strong sling to each one, bury them in the snow a little ways apart from each other, and then stomp down the snow over them. The snow ideally then gets kind of hard, and gets stronger than you'd ever believe. The slings extending from the pickets come to a common point, which is the main anchor point. In strong winds, I'd definitely create an anchor like this if I were going to be spending any time in one place standing up, such as working on a cave. That sort of anchor could also be used for lowering people down the slope, so any anchors they find up there could mean a couple of different things.

 

 

 

Maybe all this belongs in the Newbies forum, but it was asked here. OK, time for bed...

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I just cannot buy the given scenario with mixed facts. Maybe there are some facts declared confidential?!

 

These climbers were supposed to be very experienced in mountaineering. Taking a risk and going light before storm is one thing (and common) but attempting to descend steep slope on north side while already being on the top and having choice of much gentler south side even in limited visibility is completely different.

 

And if it was me, I would still consider the top ridge to be better place to dig a cave than so steep slop, especially on north side, and especially in case if I would have to be rescued.

 

I just don’t buy it. I want to know the true. I think everyone deserve it. These two other climbers are still not found!!! The time is running fast.

 

Anyone can help please?

 

Is anyone competent reading this still or every one already gave up?

 

Me, not competent, but I'm asking a lot of the same stuff, and no, I haven't given up til something makes more sense than the sheriff.

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Me, not competent, but I'm asking a lot of the same stuff, and no, I haven't given up til something makes more sense than the sheriff.

 

Thanks. Is there any site that this issue could be addressed?

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I don't understand why they did not call 911 right off when the phone worked.

Lambone, I think this one's for you.

 

iain, thanks for posting that photo of the actual anchor. The infamous "y" photo made no sense based on what was being described in the press. I'm sure those cables are actually nowhere near the snow cave or their belay, which makes it hard to believe how much misinformation was being propagated based on the photo, but I suppose that's not entirely the fault of the media.

 

Thanks to all of the SAR folks for all their hard work... hope I never need you but it's sure good to know you're there. Condolences to the friends and family for this tragic loss.

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I just cannot buy the given scenario with mixed facts. Maybe there are some facts declared confidential?!

 

These climbers were supposed to be very experienced in mountaineering. Taking a risk and going light before storm is one thing (and common) but attempting to descend steep slope on north side while already being on the top and having choice of much gentler south side even in limited visibility is completely different.

 

And if it was me, I would still consider the top ridge to be better place to dig a cave than so steep slop, especially on north side, and especially in case if I would have to be rescued.

 

I just don’t buy it. I want to know the true. I think everyone deserve it. These two other climbers are still not found!!! The time is running fast.

 

Anyone can help please?

 

Is anyone competent reading this still or every one already gave up?

 

Me, not competent, but I'm asking a lot of the same stuff, and no, I haven't given up til something makes more sense than the sheriff.

 

the most you will get here is anyones best guess or speculation based on what the climbers here might do if in a similar situation. climbing is not an exact science. there is not if a then b type of answers. Every climber will try to make the best decision they can given the circumstances they are in. the only people who can tell you are hopefully still alive somewhere on the mountain. and if they are not alive you will never know the truth. period.

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We know from telemetry data and personal accounts that there were very strong winds coming from the southwest on the Friday that these guys were supposed to summit as well as the following Saturday. It seems these guys had an accident on the route that resulted in a broken arm which would have slowed them down considerably. High in the NF gullies, the best option for self-rescue is to finish the route and descend via an easier route (Cooper Spur or South Side). But, with an injured member the going must have been very slow. Perhaps they didn't reach the summit until very late on Friday. They would have been met with very high winds out of the southwest and it seems logical to me that one might seek shelter on the northeastern aspect (where the cave was found).

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It's possible the cell phone had been disabled by water (it was found wet), or Kelly was too incapacitated to call out, or the battery went dead, or it just plain didn't work all the time for some unknown reason.

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mrd & LH,

...

[--> I do not have any answers why there was not more cell phone contact. That's a big mystery to me. Anyone got any ideas on this?]

 

That is exactly my question. Is this certain from the footprints on the summit that the three of them summited, as Sheriff stated publicly? Once we established this as an invalid statement, as you are suggesting in your scenario, all other statements may be false as well. Therefore, I ask again: Is it certain (based on all available evidence) that they did not descend anything on the south side?

 

Did not you consider that this anchor was set to secure the injured climber to get him up to the “reasonably” safe place they built the cave and even to secure him in case if he slides while they were digging the cave rather then for the descend attempt.

 

Is there any hard evidence that proof your scenario, their descend on the north side?

 

What is the deal with the rope? How much rope is missing if at all?

 

Anything is possible, but what are the known facts, proven evidence? I am not asking for possible scenario, I am asking for evidence that supports given scenario and invalidates other possibilities.

 

We do not know what and how their were thinking, so we cannot make any assumption other than based on given fact, not theories. I am not saying that the whole mountain should be searched over and over, but do the best we can to narrow the margin error.

 

They were only three of them acting in extremely unfavorable conditions. However, we have more resources to use, especially if volunteered.

 

 

CELL PHONE:

I have Sprint. My cell phone battery’s lifetime is no more than one day in such conditions (usually roaming) even without making phone calls (especially if analog roaming on service found). I witnessed and because of this was .... that the Verizon’s cell phone battery worked incomparably longer. Any time I climb, especially in winter and for several days, I always take my battery out of the phone.

 

And this is a good question. If the had working phone why they did not use it. Why Kelly waited so long to make a call, hoping that help would have arrived sooner? I don’t think they did not call before, were it was the right time because it would be shame. Or they wanted to do self-rescue and be hero among mountaineering community? Or may because they were already dead as Colorado climbers suggested.

 

Anything is possible, therefore, it is important to release to the pubic evidence, not the guesses and theories. I have no idea who you are and am to tired to do the search, but if you asked me this question about the cell phone then you theorized scenario about what have happened and which way they attempted to descend is very, very weak, even you doubt in it.

 

We are talking here about two human lives.

 

So facts please. This is not top military secret. Oh I forgot about this high-tech plane, so may be it is.

 

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I am completely exhausted and have to get some sleep. For the last several days I was not able to do much but monitoring info about this accident and make sense of anything. I am personally involved in this whole situation (even though I don’t know any of this guys) because I am a mountain climber and most importantly was involved in the search for my best climbing buddy. If you really want to know to what extend and with what result, do the search, it is easy. Maybe then you will understand why I am asking for the evidence so much. But for today I am out.

 

Good night.

 

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I like the idea that a self rescue was in the works. It reinforces my belief that leaving an injured partner at 10300 with weather moving in was potentially a compromising situation. Perhaps Kelly was in the cave waiting for the "setup" to be completed by Brian and Jerry. A broken arm is certainly something that could be "walked out" if that was his only injury. Something happened and the descent of all 3 safely under rescue never occurred. The guys tried there best to get Kelly off safely rather than going for help....pure speculation on my part.

 

Thanks to all of the SAR and to the families I express my deepest condolences.

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It's very frustrating for me to hear descriptions of parts of the mountain and not know the mountain. I've tried to google images with limited success since you can't see things in relation to other things. Questions for anyone wanting answer.

1. Is there an online resource anyone knows of that shows the topography, with parts labeled? I saw two pictures on Google of two different glaciers, and they looked identicle.

 

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=45.37361&lon=-121.69466&size=l&u=4&datum=nad27&layer=DRG

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It's possible the cell phone had been disabled by water (it was found wet), or Kelly was too incapacitated to call out, or the battery went dead, or it just plain didn't work all the time for some unknown reason.

 

There are many variables to the cell phone equation. First the signal strength needed to accomplish what's been called a 'ping' in the news is much less than the signal needed to make a call. As a cell phone battery loses charge, it also begins to lose it's ability to generate the strongest signal possible. Thus a phone can be 'pinged' by a tower but the phone cannot make a call.

 

Also I have found in various mountain situations that on some days you can make a call and 30 minutes later you can't (from the exact same location). So there are other variables such as meterological conditions which affect RF propagation.

 

In general making a voice call is the most difficult task for a cell phone. Messaging takes much less energy than a voice call, so try that as well.

 

Also make sure your 'Location' setting on your phone is set to GPS ON for all calls in the mtns.

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This clarifies a lot. Thanks for the information.

Nice photos Mike!

 

Rather not add anything to this than necessary but there seems to be some confusion. For the record, the "Y" cable photo on all those news sites is just some steel cable that tied down the old summit shack (long-since destroyed).

 

Here's the media photo (rotated for some reason):

 

(see iain's photos earlier in thread)

 

Here's the actual climber's anchor (webbing and pickets), with their steps leading to it:

 

(see iain's photos earlier in thread)

 

Two different things. Do not use this photo w/o talking to me.

Edited by fern

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I just don’t buy it. I want to know the true. I think everyone deserve it.

 

Consider yourself fortunate to obtain the information you have to date.

 

None of us, who are not family members, are owed any information at all.

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