The search continues for two of the missing climbers on Mt. Hood this morning, even as news comes that one of the three has been found dead on the mountain according to CNN.com. The body of one of climbers was found inside a snow cave late yesterday, but at this time it has not been retrieved from the mountain, nor has the man been identified.
Meanwhile, helicopters and rescue teams are still searching for the other two men, who have been missing since last Sunday. Rescuers reported seeing two sets of footprints in the snow leading away from the snow cave. One set went down the mountain, reportedly in an “aimless circle” while the other set went up to the summit before the tracks were lost altogether.
This is sad news for all of us who have been following this story for the past week, as we continued to hold out hope that these three men would be found alive. It is still possible that one or both of the two other men is still holed up in a snow cave, waiting for rescue, but it’s troubling that the two sets of footprints that the rescuers found, went off in different directions. I’m not sure why the two would seperate, or why one of the men would attempt to return to the summit. It’s likely we will never know for sure at this point.
My condolences and prayer go out to the families in this sad and trying time.
Update: Fox News is now reporting that the body found on the mountain yesterday has been identified as Kelly James, the man who initially placed a distress call from Mount Hood last weekend. Still no word on the other two climbers Brian Hall or Jerry “Nikko” Cooke as of yet. More as it comes in.