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Dec-16-2009 17:03printcomments

Search & Rescue Mission On Mount Hood Suspended

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Suspends search for missing climbers.

Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti remain missing on Mt. Hood.
Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti remain missing on Mt. Hood.
Photos: Clackamas Sheriff

(MT. HOOD. Ore.) - The search for two missing climbers on Mount Hood is over. The information was released today by Det. Jim Strovink with the Clackamas Sheriff's Office.

"The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, announces with profound sadness the necessity to suspend the ongoing Search and Rescue mission conducted on Mount Hood, in Clackamas County."

Sheriff Craig Roberts met with family members earlier this morning and discussed the ever present hazardous conditions that persistently exist on the mountain. It was then mutually determined to cease all further search efforts – this mission has now transitioned into a formal ‘recovery mode'.

Roberts said, "My condolences go out to all the family and friends of Luke Gullberg, Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti. One of the most difficult decisions I have to make as Sheriff is the decision to suspend search operations. I have consulted with all of the search and rescue experts at my disposal along with the family members of Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietta and have made the decision to suspect search operations at this time. I would like to thank all of the search and rescue personnel for the many hours they have spent on this search and others, without these dedicated individuals we could not perform difficult missions."

24-year old Anthony Vietti of Longview, Washington, and 29-year old Katie Nolan of Portland, Oregon, have not been located and have been the constant focus of this ongoing search and rescue mission.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel located one of the reported three missing climbers earlier on Mount Hood, deceased, on Saturday, December 12th, approximately 10:00 a.m. on the Reid Glacier, situated at about the 9,000' level of Mount Hood.

That deceased and recovered climber has been identified as 26-year old Luke Gullberg of Demoines, Washington.

Family and friends of the three victim climbers have been here on the mountain and personally comforted by Sheriff Roberts and his SAR Coordinators. Sheriff Roberts says he is particularly thankful to the family and friends of each of these three victims for being such an inspiration, very supportive and openly appreciative during this enormously heartbreaking series of events.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office is exceedingly fortunate to have the vast amount of volunteer resources at our disposal to participate in these types of complex and challenging missions –- missions performed admirably in an effort to hopefully save lives, Roberts said. Roberts says he wishes to express his sincere gratitude to all those that participated in this most recent vital mission. Those organizations -- working together to make a difference -- are identified as: Portland Mountain Rescue; Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue; Crag Rats, Hood River Sheriff's Office; Mountain Wave Emergency Communications; U.S. Air Force Reserve – 304th Rescue Squadron; Oregon Army National Guard; Oregon Military Department; Oregon Office of Emergency Management; American Medical Response – Reach And Treat (RAT) Team; Mt. Hood Ski Patrol; The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office; Timberline Lodge; Sandy Fire Department Chaplain Dennis Simons and the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Chaplain Holly Migas.

To the Oregon National Guard, on behalf of Clackamas County and the families, thank you, as always for your assistance. We could not have been as successful in our search efforts without your active participation. You truly are – "Always Ready, Always There." In addition, a very special thank you is extended to Dr. Teri Schmidt. Dr. Schmidt came to the mountain to speak directly with the family of the missing climbers and personally explained -- with extreme professionalism –- the survivability factors surrounding the missing climbers. Thank you Dr. Schmidt! It should also be recognized the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and the victim family members, were graciously accommodated by the management and staff of Timberline Lodge. The generosity extended by Timberline Lodge made this difficult time a great deal more comfortable for all those involved during this ordeal.

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Mike Mays December 17, 2009 1:33 pm (Pacific time)

Is there anyone up there willing to pay for the travel expenses and mountain expenses of some 'outside' mountaineers to continue looking for these two kids? Obviously the other two were holded up in a snow cave, possibly one of them injured. I sense this because the dead climber found had no rope, yet the pictures on his camera showed them roped up earlier? Where is the gear? He probably decided medical attention was needed quickly and was headed for help. Being the strongest climber he felt he could make it, but fell too! I have seen many people in Alaska survive MUCH longer than this in a snow cave (or cravasse) for cover from the storms w/ the right gear...so I am surprised they have given up like this? Those kids are in a hole somewhere directly above where he died and the only way to find them is to put some crampons on the ice there, yet they say that weather has fully prevented that? Even though on that side of the mountain snow tends to build up and not be wind blown like on the northern and western sides, a body could be easily covered by snow, but generally some signs would be seen or left, especially if tracks were spotted of the deceased climber! Those kids are in a hole below the snow! Generally climbers in stress head as close to straight down as possible, so the 1000 to 1500 feet directly above is THE only spot they should have been looking! If I had the money to finance a private search team, I'd be there in a heartbeat w/ them? I climbed Hood in 2005 via the Eliot Glacier / Sunshine Ridge Route, which took me above the area they are lost. Its a rugged area w/ lots of couliers, but a perfect place to dig in and survive if a injury occurred! I am quite certain there are MANY real mountaineers in the SAR (NOT the Sheriffs Dept) who still feel a search should be ongoing, so please pass my offer on to those. Sorry, I know its easy to sit and play arm chair quarterback, and especially w/o all the facts of the search, but I sense these kids still have a chance to be alive. Mike Mays Salida Colorado / Peters Creek Alaska 719-221-1728


dave December 17, 2009 12:56 pm (Pacific time)

why not require locator beacons be carried by climbers on these winter climbs?

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