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Dec-18-2006 09:35printcomments

One Hiker Found Dead on Oregon's Mt Hood

The identity of the hiker's body found by searchers has been revealed.

mt hood lost hikers
The lost hikers laid out a rope in a Y-shape to help searchers.
Photo: Oregon National Guard

(HOOD RIVER) - The body found Sunday in a snow cave on Mount Hood has been identified as the same climber who placed a distress call to relatives a little more than a week ago. A military official involved in the search also confirmed the body is that of 48-year old Kelly James, of Dallas, Texas.

Monday morning, a Chinook helicopter was preparing to fly to the snow cave, about 300 feet below Mount Hood’s 11,239-foot summit, to recover the body.

Pete Hughes, a spokesman with the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, said two Blackhawk helicopters were getting ready to fly to the mountain to search for the two climbers still missing: 37-year old Brian Hall, also of Dallas, and 36-year old Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, of New York City.

A team of climbers who stayed overnight at a lodge about half way up the mountain will also participate in the search.

According to officials, the Monday search effort will center on possible descent routes on Eliot Glacier and Cooper Spur, relatively lower levels of the mountain, in case the other two got down that far.

“Eliot Glacier is real dangerous so we will do that by air only,” Hughes said Monday. “It’s a bad avalanche area with crevasses. There are still people in crevasses that have never been recovered.”

Searchers had been trying to find the stranded climbers for a week, but they were stopped daily by blizzards that kept hammering the mountain.

They got a break on Sunday, finally a day that was sunny and clear with diminished winds. It was then that searchers found a snow cave Sunday near the spot located by cell phone signals.

Kelly James made a four-minute call to his family a week ago Sunday. He told his family he was in a snow cave, the climbing party was in trouble and that the other two had headed back down.

The body was found in a second snow cave near the first cave. Rescuers found two ice axes, a sleeping bag or pad and rope in the first. It was not known if any gear was in the second cave. Searchers were unable to move the body from the mountain Sunday night because darkness made it too dangerous to retrieve.

Near the first snow cave, helicopters had spotted rope that had been intentionally laid out in a Y-shape, which climbers often use to indicate their location. There was also an ice spike and footprints, apparently headed up the mountain, said Sgt. Gerry Tiffany, a spokesman for the Hood River County sheriff’s office.

Searchers dug through the first cave to ensure no one was there and took the equipment, which will be examined for clues. The second cave with the climber’s body was found a short time later.

It was not immediately clear which cave was occupied first, or why or when the climber, or climbers, in it decided to move.

The search for the two remaining missing hikers continues.

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A Girl From Pensacola, FL January 6, 2007 11:55 am (Pacific time)

Your cross, your pain is so hard. I am praying that what seems impossible with man is still very possible with God. As we wait, there will be a resolution with peace and joy. We are assured by God of that. And our our hope is kept alive. When you feeling lonely and fearful, Remember Psalm 23.

bev January 3, 2007 5:33 am (Pacific time)

we just pray that GOD will be with everyone invovled in this bad ordeal. we pray for a miracle still. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. we hope the other two hikers are found.

cheryl mattinson January 2, 2007 4:27 pm (Pacific time)

I live in England, Great Britain, but i have followed this story with an ache in my heart staying up in to the early hours watching satelite news, though i'm not a church goer i have been praying for the families of the climbers, I hope that we do have an ending for the other 2 remaining families, a hopeful ending slips by as every hour passes! but these families need to know whether to grieve if not they will be forever in tortureous limbo

kimberly murphy dec.29 2006 December 29, 2006 11:20 am (Pacific time)

I followed this story from the begining,I prayed for each of the families, I prayed for the searchers.And I held my breath when the first word of the snow cave was found...And shed Tears when the words came of Kelly's death. I was scared for the others, and now w/ still no word. I still can cry, for them. So I guess I just want the families to know.. That ppl, out there care, and are grieveing w/ them for any American these days,that loses a life is now truley more me than in days past.I now take less for granted,And find we should care for each other more! May GOD help the children, and the other family members through this time.and may all three be brought Home.

Rob December 25, 2006 6:07 pm (Pacific time)

our hiking group here in big sur california would like to say our prayers to there loved ones

chris December 21, 2006 4:58 pm (Pacific time)

i think the idea of a location device is a good idea. i believe that people will make changes so that this will never happpen again. i can't imagine the families having to be fined "any" amount of money with the already unbearable suffering that they are going through. i do believe that things will change - i pray anyway - chris

AJ Ehry December 21, 2006 3:56 pm (Pacific time)

what do you think about all mountain climbers in the US being required to have a location device or being subject to a $20,000 fine? And shouldn't they have to check in before they go up? Pilots have to file a flight plan, hikers should too. Sorry about the loss, let's prevent more in the future.

marty narramore December 21, 2006 11:02 am (Pacific time)

i was so hoping that these guy's would be found alive and heart goes out to the kelly james family,and we will have the other two hikers on the prayer GOD'S NAME WE DO TRUST

chris December 21, 2006 9:10 am (Pacific time)

thank you for sending my message to these families - was feeling very sad and holding back tears -- left out some of the message- would like to re-send if possible Today as we look to Heaven above - The sky so blue and so vast - God give us each day the strength of Your love - And keep close in hearts the treasures of the past - To each family we pray God let them know how much we care - We shall remember every day all these families that are forever in Your care - chris

chris trogdon December 20, 2006 3:11 pm (Pacific time)

In prayer every day for the families of these men. My heart aches for them. And to the mother in Utah who lost her loved ones -- prayers are out there for you too. I want to share part of a poem that I wrote in memory of the 5 brave, brave firefighter's in California - we remember them every day -- In Prayer --- Today as we look to Heaven above-- God give us each day the strenght of Your love-- And keep close in hearts the treasures of the past-- To each family we pray God let them know how much we care-- We shall remember every day These families that are forever in Your care-- Chris - -

Ian December 20, 2006 10:30 am (Pacific time)

I will have them in my prays and hope that they are found alive. God Seed to the familys

tammi December 20, 2006 1:20 am (Pacific time)

Even just watching the news you feel like you know them, please know everyone is thinking of you and prayers are being sent to heaven as we speak. God speed!

Bertie December 19, 2006 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

My prayers go out to all the families and rescuers involved in this search. Please don't stop looking for the other 2 climbers. We can't leave them on the mountain til spring. This was a freak accident and may God be with the families. Thanks to all that risked their lives for these climbers. Heart broke in Dallas, Texas...

Mother of drowning victim in Utah December 19, 2006 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

My heart goes out to all of you - not only the families involved, but also to the families of the search and rescue teams. We had such great search and rescue teams as well as the county sheriff's dept. of Wasatch and Summit Counties in Utah, when my daughter and son-in-law were lost in Strawberry Reservior last month. It is such a terrible feeling when your loved ones are lost like that. We are so grateful to the search and rescue teams who gave us closure when they found our daughter and her husband 9 days after they drowned and died from hypothermia. We still cry everyday, missing them so much. We pray for you also, that you will remember the good times, as we are doing. I am so, so sorry.

Jenna December 18, 2006 11:13 pm (Pacific time)

This is always the risk, but life is a risk. God bless the families and friends that will have to survive this, regardless.

Gary Johal December 18, 2006 4:59 pm (Pacific time)


pd December 18, 2006 3:16 pm (Pacific time)

Let us pray for the families and pray that no one gets injured in the search efforts.

md December 18, 2006 11:55 am (Pacific time)

I pray that there is resolution to the other two climbers. Good or bad the family needs to know

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