Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a mountain of hope and prayer.......

Our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us. 
~ William James (1842-1910)

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Jim Strovink, Detective
Office of Public Information
12700 SE 82nd Avenue, Clackamas, Oregon 97015

News Release for December 15, 2009  12:32 a.m.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, ongoing search and rescue effort on Mount Hood, has paused for the evening.

Early Monday morning, weather conditions and avalanche conditions on Mount Hood appeared destined to halt rescue efforts; however, the weather conditions did improve, bringing clear visibility to the very top of the mountain around 9:00 a.m.

This improved weather brought a swift response from rescue personnel, enabling the launch of an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk, from Salem, Oregon.

This helicopter landing zone -- situated at the Timberline Lodge parking lot -- provided an opportunity for members of Portland Mountain Rescue, to climb aboard and accompany this National Guard flight crew for an estimated 90 minute aerial view of Mount Hood. This resulted in a thorough view of all the critical areas search crews were anxious to examine for this search. Aboard this craft was Portland Mountain Rescue mountaineer Monty Smith, who said, "This clearing of the weather and ability to hover over a wide area of the mountain was very thorough and advantageous – the visibility was remarkable.

In addition to this air asset, two, four man search teams representing the Hood River Crag Rats were deployed to the Reid Glacier area for an expanded ground search.

Also, eight members of the 304th Rescue Squadron – U.S. Air Force, based in Portland, was on scene expanding the ground search on Mount Hood.

In spite of this extensive air and ground search accomplished today, no trace of the two missing climbers was detected by these searchers.

The National Weather Service, incident meteorologist, assigned to this ongoing mission is reporting an additional, more severe weather pattern for the mountain on Tuesday – expected to bring large amounts of snow to the mountain.

Sheriff Craig Roberts was on the mountain today and met with family and searchers. Sheriff Roberts emphasized, "This remains an active search and rescue mission, and the Sheriff's Office remains dedicated to this rescue mission."

The Oregon State Medical Examiners Office contacted the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office earlier in the day, providing the autopsy results concerning the deceased climber, Luke Gullberg, age 26; who was discovered by searchers Saturday morning on Reid Glacier. The Medical Examiner's Office informed the Sheriff's Office, Luke Gullberg died as a result of exposure. The deceased is reported to have not sustained any life threatening injuries and died as a result of exposure.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Search and Rescue Coordinators are assembling next on Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. to assess the present weather conditions and plan the next stage of this search effort. [END]


photo: Mount Hood Climb - party descending from the Pearly Gates via Creative Commons License



Jennifer said...

I was listening to an NPR story about these climbers last night. Very sad. I will think good thoughts, but it doesn't look good.

There is a boy in my son's school whose grandfather recently died. He was on a hiking trip with a friend, it got snowy and they became lost and separated from each other. The friend later found him injured from a fall and the grandfather was dead by the time rescuers got there. He was a very involved grandparent who dropped the boy off at school every day. It was devastating.

Nature is powerful.

Hattie said...

I'll never forget the tragedy with the Oregon Episcopal School students and teachers. We lived in Portland at the time.
My husband climbed Hood several times. Its proximity and doability in a day really have misled people into believing this formidable mountain is safe. Even experienced climbers can lose their lives up there.
Really really sad.

Melinda said...

Lydia--I have been keeping up with this story (Yes, we are hearing about it on the East Coast also). I know, from growing up in Montana--that the mountains can be very unforgiving in bad weather. My thoughts and prayers are with the hikers and their families.


Looking to the Stars said...

I love the quote, it is so true.
It is always sad when hikers do not come home. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families also.

Lydia said...

@Jennifer- I'm so sorry about that grandfather of your son's classmate. I hate to think what lasting effects his loss will have on the boy. My thoughts are with him and his family.

They have suspended the search for the remaining two climbers. The weather on top of the mountain is terrible. So it appears they are gone. :(

@Hattie- I remember the Episcopal School tragedy well also. Of course, the local news has pulled out lots of old tape on the story and it's been difficult to relive the death of those nine people back in 1989.
I am impressed that your husband has climbed Mt. Hood! I did Mount St. Helens in 1995, one of the best experiences of my life. I can definitely see why people go on to climb more and more mountains.....

@Melinda- I knew you on the East coast were getting reports based on the CNN and other reports online. A sadness for all during the holidays.

@Looking to the Stars- You in Colorado also know these kinds of tragedies. Most of the interviews with friends and family left behind indicate that they are sure their loved ones died while doing what they loved so well.

Rhiannon said...

I hope some kind of miracle happens and they might find them alive. Maybe they found themselves a cave or something to "hunker in" to stay warm..or something?

My thoughts are with them and so sorry to know that one of them died. It's so not the time of year to be hiking up there. I don't understand that.

Thanks for the update Lydia.

Hoping for a miracle!




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