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MT Hood Continued


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Just an idea, which may get shot down as speculation, cause it is, but I haven't heard anyone suggest it. Everyone is assuming there were two accidents...one that dislocated Kelly's shoulder, and another that the other two experienced. Since we know that Kelly had a false sense of reality when he made the phone call as evidence of sounding 'delirious' and stating that one of the other climbers was 'on an airplane,' that tells me he didn't have a clue what was going on. That's as absurd as saying the climber was in a movie theatre watching Santa Clause 3 and munching popcorn. Or, maybe a head injury causing amnesia or something else making him hallucinate and forget the past. Which means he could have been the only one of the three to come out of a bad accident and make it to the top...ONE accident.


There was some debate here as to whether the tracks shown in the photos are one person or two...two axes or one, etc. I don't know how two people are trained to go up together, but if it's two that went, it looks like they used a technique of the lower man deliberately putting his feet where the others guys feet were NOT, staggering the foot placement. Else, eventually, the lower guy would step in the exact same spot. Or if it's one person, his steps were short and axe work as well. It's hard to tell without some scale to the photo. Those tracks could each be two feet apart or more for all I know. The report was that the tracks lead from a snow cave, straight upward, then faded out near the top. If such tracks would only be left in a climb, and not a decent, and there are only two people at most, then the sherrif's story is contradictory. Why do I need to 'buy' his story? The same reason anyone needs to buy the story of law enforcement or a lawyer in a courtroom. We want to know what happened. I can accept not ever knowing for sure. What I can't accept are contradictions from the same authoritative sources, and claims that a Y shaped rope used to support a shack that has long been torn down belonged to these climbers. This is crazy. The public may not deserve answers, but if I were a family member, I'd be asking more than a few questions, not to challenge anyone's ability or integrity, but to learn the truth. This 'case' can't end like this. No way. Yes, it's a case. A law enforcement officer is running the show and collecting evidence. That's his job, as it should be, but he shouldn't get away with announcing facts that are hogwash and/or later contradict his own facts. Where are the pictures of the rope, foam pad, axes, strewn on the side of the mountain?


Man, I really wish you would stop posting your groundless speculations. The above is so full of errors it's beyond salvage. You are not a detective trying to solve a mystery, you are someome who has no idea what they are talking about, and no background knowledge to even understand what knowledgeable people have posted, spewing worthless crap into a thread that is about MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY LOST AND DYING!!! You, and others like you, have turned this thread into junk. Have some freakin' respect for this situation and for the people who are involved in it. What facts are possible to be known will come out with time. I'll post again part of what I posted a few pages back:


I came here looking for information after only getting back to the internet yesterday evening. It has taken hours of slogging through worthless posts in this thread to try and glean a few useful nuggets of information. It has been an extremely time consuming and frustrating effort.


People, I beseech you, please exercise some judgment when you consider whether to post on a thread such as this one, and unless you are absolutely certain that you have something useful to add I'd encourage you to refrain, especially the non-climbers. This thread (and future threads of the same nature) would be much more useful if you would spend more time reading and left the posting to those who know what they are talking about. If any family or friends of the climbers are still reading this thread, or if they come back to read it later, then the useless posts are only cluttering what useful information they might find here, and even quite possibly confusing their understanding of this event.


So I'm asking you and others, again, PLEASE, have some consideration for the people involved in this situation, and some awareness of where you are posting. This isn't some random news story about strangers to us, this is a tragedy that hits very close to home for many of us, some more personal than others. Please, please, stop your pointless posting.


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I was simply trying to describe what I saw in the picture to get some help figuring this thing out. Contrary to what many here think, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. People are often careless and let a hand slip into the picture. I had no way of knowing it was an airplane in the way, and I'm appreciative of the person who pointed the anchor out to me. I see it now. Some things to keep in mind...

1. Iain seemed to have credibility and wouldn't make up a story about the infamous 'Y' being something not related to the climbers, something that had been there for years, once serving a different purpose. First, he had a picture others didn't, which told me he took it himself or possibly had sources close to the investigation. Second, he had lots of posts to his credit, which reinforces that he's not a transient here. Thirdly, other apparent regulars to this site know him.

2. If the sherrif is right after all, then I don't understand why a credible person, Iain, would say what he said. (Unless the Y shaped rope in his first pic is not the same one in his second pic.) If they are the same anchor, then the first one was taken with a powerful zoom lens, cause it looks like it covers a much larger area than in the 2nd pic. If they are not the same one, then why was the first one taken to begin with and distributed to the media? Hmmmm?


I'm fairly certain Iain is correct. He was up there on the summit and I trust his ability to distinguish between steel cable and nylon webbing. I believe the steel cable "Y" was photographed by aircraft during a recon flight on Saturday and was probably analyzed by the sheriff and MRA folks as well as leaked to the media Saturday night. Sunday, when rescuers actually got feet on the ground, they realized what it really was (a steel cable). But they also found more clues, like the footprints leading down to (not up from) the second cave/shelter/platform that contained the ice tools, glove, and anchor.


Many of you non-climber types seem confused by the footprints and cannot understand how to distinguish 1 set from 2 or ascending prints from descending. Trying to analyze Iain's photos based on your own limited understanding is amusing but not particularly helpful.


The folks on the summit Sunday were some of the best PMR (and Crag Rats and 304th) has to offer. They have vast knowledge and experience and, I promise you, the best ability of anyone to collect and understand the clues that were up there. For crying out lound, they were able find tracks on a summit that had been decimated by storms for a week and follow them to locate a cave that was completely buried under snow. These guys know their shit.


I, for one, will not second-guess the conclusions that these experts were able to draw.

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thanks zimzam.. I am a regular on thebackpacker.com and viewsfromthetop.com and I lurk on summitpost. I did something wrong because my name should say EarthNsky.

Your post just reminded me of one earlier this week. No insult was intended. Welcome and good luck. Now :fahq:


ha none taken

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What is so complicated?


Three guys went to climb the big snowy hill. One got hurt badly enough that the two others took a LOT of time to dig a cave and stash the injured one. They got soaked doing it.


The weather caught up with them. The guy in the cave died.


Then the two others probably fell at some point and died. Or they died in a snow cave/shrund/slot somewhere.


Who cares about the specifics. Does it really f'ing matter?


Jesus Christ everyone needs to STFU and have a moment of silence for these poor guys.


Their families are reading this crap. Stop your inane bickering!


Thank you



no bickering going on here, those three guy's would be doing the same shit. if not here somewhere also, so go drink a beer and stop picking shit apart.

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Tsk, Tsk Muffy. Shouldn't be giving beta on something you've nver done! ;) (Read giving beta on routes on Hood)


The route I think you were referring to on Hood that TG and Tex attempted was Yocum Ridge on the SW side of the mountain, and probably the toughest/risky route on Hood, in the conditions they reported!

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thanks for the information you continue to pass along. Obviously you have taken time to read some of this banter in order to respond to what folks are bringing up - brave soul.


I hope those who have been involved in the rescue and chosen to inform or clarify are being heard.


I also hope you are about to crack open a beer and find a way to chill after such a challenging week. Thanks for being there!

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I did a bit of searching in the times I haven't been on here as one of my two identities and couldn't find an answer to my question, so sorry if it has already been answered... And not that this makes a difference, but I was just curious, again nothing is being insinuated! I am wondering how much time any of them had on Hood? Thanks...

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I've have been reading the board for a couple of days.

I just wanted to comment on several of the informative posts I have read, that made this forum worth reading.


I think 2 of the climbers were descending above the area referred to as the gullies and James was trying to lower them because of the difficulty in trying to climb down against the hurricane force wind. In the process he dislocated his shoulder. The climbers were left on their own to descend and fell to the death being blown off. That makes the most sense to me.


I think they all most likely had cellphones (for emergency, and in case one was lost). If James had been the only one who was hurt, I think the other 2 would have also made attempts to use their cellphones to call for help for James. I also think the other 2 might have been able to put his shoulder back in place and he could have continued.


James didn't tell his family about his injury and I believe he didn't tell them about the probable death of the other 2 climbers because he didn't want to worry his family anymore.


He knew he wouldn't be able to descend after the other 2 had failed and knew he didnt have the equipment needed to stay very long in a snow cave on the mtn. I think this was part of the reason he seemed delirious on the phone (in addition to the injury and altitude).


This is what sounds the most reasonable to me.



Edited by midnightrider
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Everyone is speculating to the best of there abilities. However what I heard from one of the rescuers is. They believe they all summitted, then something happened to James and they built the first snow cave. The one he was found in. Then at some point the two others left to find a way down. They found themselves to far to the left and had to build another snow cave to stay in. That is the one that was empty. At some point they left this snow cave and probably were a little hypothermic themselves and they walked off the edge. But as I say everyone is speculating.

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To Christy and all the newer people feeling a little beat up on: If you have been following this very closely, you'll know that people have been knowingly trying to bog down this conversation and relentlessly asking the same *clearly* disrespectful questions over and over. Most of this has been deleted by moderators. It's unfortunate that a few well-meaning people get caught in the crossfire, but also inevitable. Come around when this sad story is no longer on the national radar and you'll find a much more welcoming tone. I've asked a few dumb questions and made dumb comments, and you have to be prepared to take some ribbing, but it's all in good fun.


Well then, climbing panther, all's forgiven for the rude remark you made to me, then failed to retract when you realized you were wrong.

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Calm down, folks. Some feel the discussion of what may have happened is inappropriate or somehow disrespectful, while others undertake such discussion trying to understand what has happened. Let's not degenerate into "Speculator!" "Am not..." "Are too..."


We've discussed a lot of tangential aspects of this tragedy from how different types of cell phones work to why we climb to how the news photo's were misidentified and how we feel pride or sympathy for people we've never met.


Some of the discussion probably better belongs in other areas of this board but lets keep this thread dedicated to more or less discussing the climb, the rescue, sharing information, support, etc. with the occasional deviation perhaps but not a wholescale diversion into who is "out of line." As I've said before, if you want to debate the preparedness of the climbers, the merits of mountain climbing in general, or whether or not XXXposter is a jerk, there are other threads for those discussions.

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Hey guys,


I just happened to notice that my site "The Adventurist" is getting alot of hits from cascadeclimbers.com--so I thought I would check out why. It seems someone has posted an email that I published yesterday from "Patti" about seeing a reflection on the South Side of Mt. Hood. Upon hearing this information, I contacted the Hood River County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department exclaimed that they would definately be looking into it.


Here is an update: I haven't even published this myself, so you guys are hearing it first.


The Hood River Valley County Search and Rescue has called off a search of Mt. Hood on the South Side. (this being from lastnight)


Nothing was found to correspond with the tip that my site had recieved. A major ground search yesterday turned up nothing, and was not scheduled to take place again today.


Here are my thoughts: I am very positive that the Hood River County Search and Rescue teams have covered about every inch they can get to on foot and by air. It is also noted that Searches have located no signs of someone leaving the mountain since the search was began 10 days ago. It is still presumed that Brian and Jerry are both on the Mountain someplace. Mt. Hood is a very big place, but ALOT of people are involved in this effort.


The members of Cascadeclimbers.com have taught myself and alot of other people who perhaps do not know that much about mountain climbing and Mt. Hood in general an aweful lot. I thank all of you.


The speculation and "What if's" will continue until these climbers are found. It is a request I make though, that these issues be carried out in a respectful and well demeanered manner from all involved. The family's of Jerry "Nikko" Cooke, Brian Hall, and Kelly James are reading these sites. I HAVE been contacted by family members in relation to this issue. Please be respectful and courteous. TO be honest, it really does not matter what happened on Mt. Hood. What matters is that all of the climbers are brought home.


Once again, thank-you for all of your insight and thoughts on the Mt. Hood rescue. You have been invaluable to ALOT of people.

You have my respect.


And to the families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and associates of Brian Hall, Jerry "Nikko" Cooke, and Kelly James: We are humbled by this incident. Your families are in our thoughts and prayers.



J. Alan Hendricks

Editor, The Adventurist



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I see four issues with speculation:

1) some speculation can be disrespectful

2) some speculation can be baseless and purely clutter, obscuring more informational posts

3) if not careful, some speculation can be later interpreted as fact

4) some speculation can be judgmental, and it's poor style to judge someone who cannot defend himself


That said, speculation should not be outright prohibited. What you're seeing is polarization from a bunch of people on both sides who have emotions running high.

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I don't think there's anything wrong with following the sheriff's lead here and speculate about the direction of tracks and who made them.... anchors, what they're made of, who they belong to and how long they've been there.....ropes and whether or not they were cut with a knife...who did or didn't make it to the summit....where the climbers may be right now....which cave was made first or second.....who equipment belonged to, etc etc. If it's good enough to do with cameras and mics around, to be broadcast all over the world, surely we can do it here with far less viewers.


Perhaps the people allergic to speculation should be the ones to 'go away.' And while you're away, don't watch any press conferences or read any reports, 'official' or otherwise, cause we've established now that it's all speculation. There are no witnesses, and therefore worthless to anyone for any reason.

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If it's good enough to do with cameras and mics around, to be broadcast all over the world, surely we can do it here with far less viewers.


Because the media does it doesn't make it right.


Suppose your parents died in a car accident, and I speculated that it was because they were DUI. Would that be appropriate or not?

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