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MT Hood Continued


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Thanks for your well written words. As someone who has joined in since this tragic event, I feel compassion for the individuals and families involved, admiration for the SAR groups, and......a true sense of a community here that really cares about its members. I wade through the negative....as there will always be that...but more importantly I come away with an increased knowledge. We should all learn from this experience.

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Telektr, nice thoughts.


I hope everyone had a chance to read Jerry's TR from Rainier (with pics) last year. It's a great report and lesson all in one.


I will never forget his closing words as he spoke about his gear prior to the fall into the crevasse:


"Yes I felt like a nerd walking from Schurman to the flats with all that stuff rigged. No I will never feel like a nerd again."



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If not for all the attention in the media, I probably wouldn't have become so interested in the outcome of this unfortunate incident. Outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who prefer adventures that are more extreme, are at risk every time they do what they are compelled to. Much of that has to do with the unpredictable temperament of Mother Nature, which is beyond the control of anyone. These risks are known and understood by those who take them, and often understood and accepted by friends and family members. What concerns me most is the potential for unnecessary restrictions and regulations that could be forced upon those who live their lives to the extreme.


I grew up in the mountains of Northern California, I have family up and down the Northern Pacific Coast – I consider the entire area my playground. I am not a climber (mountaineer) but I have many friends who are. I am a hiker, mostly day hikes, in my youth I fancied myself a backpacker often taking longer journeys, the longest of which was 16 days (Ice House – beautiful!) Regardless of what type adventure one chooses, every trip still requires careful planning, but no matter how experienced or prepared someone might be, the potential for the unanticipated unknown (freak incident/accident) is still there.


In high school, I was one of 11 girls snowed in at a cabin near Squaw Valley for 11 days – our ski trip was supposed to be only four days. There were provisions left in the cabin that made our extended stay more bearable, and other than a lot of arguing and cat-fighting (read: cabin fever) we all survived and were never in any real danger. Our families were terrified until we were reunited (as anyone would expect), but I learned something very important from what happened when we all came home. Most parents’ first instinct would be to protect their children from any potential threat in future and some might choose to prohibit their child from any future participation in risky activities. I am grateful that our collective families decided upon an alternative – 2 weeks after the incident, we were sent back to the cabin for a 3 day ski trip, and that time nothing out of the ordinary happened, we all had a great time (no cat-fights). All of us, parents & children, faced our fears and used our experience as a means to better prepare for future ventures should the unthinkable happen again.


These three men and their families were well aware of the risks. The posts of other seasoned climbers on this forum also indicate how intense the planning and preparation is beforehand. Some people might choose to bring cell phones, GPS locators, etc. Others feel that such devices defeat their purpose of “getting away from it all” and would rather go without. I hope that the choice will remain left to those who climb. I see it like this: some choose to camp in the wilderness without anything more than necessary, others prefer taking the Winnebago (satellite TV, air conditioning, etc.) and securing a campsite with amenities such as public toilets and electrical outlets. We could argue all day over who is really “camping”, but it is all about personal preference and perception. The choice to RV, or not to RV, should be left to the individual camper.


I have always been interested in mountaineering and am a bit envious of those with the guts to do it. I just don’t have it in me, but I enjoy listening to the stories and seeing the breathtaking pictures brought back by those who made the climb. I have wandered (German: “Wandern”) the base of the northern mountains (well as far up as I could get on my own two feet – hiker NOT climber) in absolute awe and if not for climbers sharing their experiences I would never have gotten to see the beauty of everything higher than I dare venture.


These three men are not the first to have been lost in the mountains, and sadly they likely will not be the last – unless the hysteria surrounding this leads to outlawing mountain climbing. And that would be sadder still and a much greater tragedy. It’s all about freedom – and these men are/were FREE. Let that be their legacy…


(Now that I have found this remarkable forum, I will be lurking! I would love to hear of more adventures and see more pictures! You all really know how to LIVE!)


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Addressed, specifically to Kevbone's post:


Why is there so much hostility in this community? Did it ever occur to you that many of these "newbies" have come here because they are inspired by the mountains, these climbers, and their way of life? Did it ever occur to you that many of these newbies are being introduced to this sport through this tragedy? Did it ever occur to you that these newbies may be in your ranks on the mountain someday? Instead of being rude and selfish, why not embrace the fact that this tragic event may actually bring positive attention to this sport? I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Do you really think Jerry, Brian and Kelly would want their death (Kelly, at least) to result in a negative spotlight on the very sport that brought them so much joy? Stop giving them and every other mountaineer who welcomes others into the sport such a bad name.

Edited by kjlfaiejlifli
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kjlfaiejlifli, part of the reason may be that many of the old-timers know each other personally, having been tied to the same rope, or at least having shared a beer. When many new people come on, especially who don't have any identity beyond a bunch of random letters on the keyboard, it's like getting our party crashed. Not surprisingly, some of the locals in this dive bar can be a little surly.


Also, I think many climbers feel defensive when folks question what happened up there. Anyone who's been climbing for a long period of time has seen or heard of a number of accidents, most of which had no answers. We're used to not speculating and being patient and waiting for the reports to come out in due time. We feel that we wouldn't have done anything differently than the three on Hood, and some are disturbed by all the gawkers here.


Other climbers have noticed that this year has been a rough year for our own... there are two missing climbers in Tibet now, including one of Seattle's own. The climbing community is very tight -- the network of climbing partners probably just has three degrees of separation. Though we may be hard on the outside, we're soft on the inside, and we're coping with yet another climber now resting in peace.

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Hadn't actually intended to say "goodbye"--didnt really think anyone would care or notice. Just another obnoxious newbie gotten rid of.


But I did notice that someone else was signing in with a screen name almost identical to mine. Don't want his/her future posts to be confused with mine, so I'll say goodbye and pull my registration.

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I know jerry cooke very personally...



He had no kids, but James..


I feel for his children that will grow up without a father.


His reckless behaviour was unjustified and selfish for a father of young children.

He was/is a friend and co-worker for the past 8 years

we survived the collapse of WTC



As a responsible father, I put dangerous activities on hold - regardless of whatever personal loss I felt for them.


A father's responsibility outweighs the need to climb mountains and skydive that I miss dearly.


I just love my children more.

deal f'ers\

by the way... no one called Jerry Cooke "NIKKO" but these F'ers


Kelly James had 4 children... the youngest is 12... the oldest is 25... I think they were old enough for him to go outside and live his life.


And by the way... every interview on TV with Jerry Cooke's wife that I have seen... she refers to him a "Nikko"... so maybe only those people that were close to him referred to him as "Nikko".

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I'm actually not religious either, but I was saying "God Bless Your Brother" to show my appreciation for what he, as a rescuer, is doing and to let her know that I hope God is keeping him safe. It's a term people say worldwide, zealous or not. But, as I'm seeing with just about everything, as long as I'm not climbing to summits of Rainier, Hood, the Alps or elsewhere, not even my well-wishes and appreciation for rescuers is welcome. I appreciate your last posts, Gary. You stand for something good in this community.



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If you start at the beginning of this thread--50 pages back--you will see that it started with speculation among the veterans of this website.


If anyone is interested, this is the webpage of the family's blog.




First, I tried to make the same point, but certain 'veterans' are in denial.


Second, I clicked on that link, and the person running that blog said that comments posted to it will be read by the family. There's also a link over to the right of that blog which points to this site, and I pray that someone close to the family who is familiar with this site and all that's on it will make a bee line run to that blogger, and plead with them to remove the link. Short of that, they should advise the family to not click on it. With all they've been through and the class they exhibit, they don't need to be anywhere near cascadeclimbers dot com.




There are 'veterans' posting here who don't deserve to type the names of these people.

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I'm actually not religious either, but I was saying "God Bless Your Brother" to show my appreciation for what he, as a rescuer, is doing and to let her know that I hope God is keeping him safe. It's a term people say worldwide, zealous or not. But, as I'm seeing with just about everything, as long as I'm not climbing to summits of Rainier, Hood, the Alps or elsewhere, not even my well-wishes and appreciation for rescuers is welcome.


This isn't Spray, so I'll make this polite. You're not getting flak for your lack of climbing resume. No one cares a wit about that. It's your inability to let go of the shitty little meaningless details, your voyeurism, especially grotesque after much of the search has been called off, that attracts some much needed criticism.


Take your last post "let her know that I hope God is keeping him safe". God, even if you're a believer, certainly does not keep us safe. We are responsible to save our own or each other's bacon. If God was indeed watching out for these men, then he apparently took a long coffee break.


At this point, given the extremely slim chances that these men will come home, the best thing you can do is walk away, stop prolonging the dissection of their demise, and let the families get on with their grieving. If you want to send them a personal letter of condolence, then by all means do so, but masking your rubbernecking with a pompous sugar coating of love and caring is innappropriate at this late stage of this tragedy.


Many of us have had a close friend killed in the mountains. The last thing we wanted at the time was an intrusion of the 'well meaning', yet there always seem to be people like you who insist on inserting yourselves into the misery. At such times all the survivors want to do is huddle with those closest to them. It's long past time you buggered off.

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God, even if you're a believer, certainly does not keep us safe. We are responsible to save our own or each other's bacon. If God was indeed watching out for these men, then he apparently took a long coffee break.


My point is proved once again while 'veterans' make their own case. All I have to do is sit back and watch.


Newbies ignorance of climbing is more than balanced out by some people's ignorance of God.


Lord, may the climber's families never come to this site.

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I'd like to express sympathy to the families of the lost and the climbing community in general. I've been following this story and lurking on this thread since hearing about the story 12 days ago. It is a has been a heart rending journey for everyone.


I'm not a climber but I can relate to the emotions and passions of climbers. I've been involved in motorcycle drag racing and track club racing since I was a teen. I've heard the criticisms about irresponsible "thrill seekers" when buddies of mine have been hurt or killed. I guess thats a cross we'll always have to bare. Still, it pisses me off. The bacon cheeseburger scarfing, risk averse, couch potatoe critics can shove it.


I raise a glass to passionate men and women who strive to excell in their sports. I celebrate their committment and and energy in seeking to advance their sport, their skills and human accomplishment. God bless these warriors of the human soul who reached for the summit. God bless these 3 wonderful climbers who inspired us all.


I'll say a prayer of thanks to God for the inspiration of their heart and spirit. Thank God for their example of courage and love of life. I don't know these guys but I love 'em. God speed, brothers.

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The person updating on the other site is Carolyn James. She is the wife of Frank James, Kelly's older brother who has been the main media contact.


She posted here last week thanking everyone for their updates and information. Thus, there is a link to both of these threads on the righthand side of the blog. The earlier link did not go to the entire site, only one post. I will re-post the general link for those who would like to see the family's accounting of the search. Keep in mind, the main focus is on prayer and emphasizes the men's faith.




I did want to post one of the recent entries for all to see:



During one of the news conferences, the sheriff said that the rescue teams had failed the families by not reaching Kelly in time, but that he knew they had done their best.


The family wants everyone to know—and Frank is communicating this to Sheriff Wampler—that they have not failed anyone in any sense of the word. We can hardly express the gratitude we have for the extraordiary efforts of all of these dedicated people, from the leaders in the command center, to the climbers on the mountain, to those flying above Mt. Hood, and other who are operating behind the scenes. They have risked their lives. They have reached out to the grieving, agonizing family members. They have worked to the point of exhaustion. They have been gracious to the media and open with information. They and many, many others have volunteered and poured themselves into this rescue effort. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and we thank God for everyone of them.


For the family,

Carolyn James




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Quick update: sorry but again i have not read every page to see what is being discussed..bear with me. Again it would help to limit speculation at least to the folks that were there.

James did not have a sleeping bag or bivy sack. His backpack was under his torso, no insulation under his feet. Extreme living conditions existed. This is what i meant as limited equipment if you find my last posting. I did not see a stove. For all those ready to critique his gear requirements, I have also done similar routes with limited resources.


A few comments on SAR and how we plan a search may help some folk.

ONE method is to use POA (probability of Area ) and POD (probability of Detection). After looking at all the AVAILABLE facts, the search area is divided into sections. Each section is given a POA priority ie the highest priority section is searched first etc. Each team going into the field has to ask/answer questions like,

what is the percent chance that i can see/hear the missing person?

what is the percent chance that the missing person can see/hear me?

what is the percent chance that the person is consious/unconsious?

what is the percent chance that the person would be moving if s/he could.?


All these effect the probability of detection. If its cold and you are injured, you might be holed up in a tree well and so the POD is low and lower yet if you are unconsious. Please if this happenes to you. Mark the nearest Tress or Rock with some marker.

OK so when you get back to SAR base and report in, all this info is takedn down. A POA of 1 with a POD of 50% means another team will go search the same area to try to bring up the POD to a number where we can say we think s/he is not there. At any time the Sheriff can look at the map and see POA and POD as each day developes. POA's are also subject to change as more data becomes available.....hope this is clear.


On climbing, passion in this world is everything and also sadly lacking. In my experience, people that find passion in the mountains bring it down with them and share that passion with others, many non climbers. Many people would have you stay safe in your house, live without passion if it means nothing bad would happen to you..and suddenly you are 80 years old and have done nothing passionate with your life. I am not saying that you have to climb to have passion, you can be passionate about reading. Both its clear that these men were passionate about climbing among other things....sorry to veer off the climbing facts.


Quick note to Debra Leming-Ross ....Mark is one dedicated person.

Very Solid and a honor to work with.




Sean for you and all of the guys on the summit you are my heros. My brother was with you. I have the highest respect for all of you and what you do for people. I hope you are as proud of yourselves as we are of you.


Debra Leming-Ross

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