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Dec-14-2009 20:30printcomments

Mount Hood Search And Rescue Pauses For The Evening And Awaiting Severe Weather

Helicopters have joined in the search for two climbers lost on Mt. Hood; Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti.

Climbers lost on Mt. Hood: Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti
Climbers lost on Mt. Hood: Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti

(MT. HOOD, Ore.) - As of 6:30 p.m. the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, ongoing search and rescue effort on Mount Hood, has paused for the evening, according to the agency's spokesman, Det. Jim Strovink.

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."

Family members of the two remaining climbers, Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti, told TV reporters today that they believe the two are alive, but they believed today was the day to locate them. He says 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."

Strovink says the 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 provided an opportunity for members of Portland Mountain Rescue accompany the National Guard flight crew for an estimated 90 minute aerial view of Mount Hood.

Climber Luke Gullberg died on Mt. Hood and his body has been
located, searchers are looking for his two climbing partners,
Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti.

This resulted in a thorough view of all the critical areas search crews were anxious to examine for this search, Strovink said.

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, Strovink says a pair of four man search teams fromm the Hood River Crag Rats were deployed to the Reid Glacier area for an expanded ground search.

Eight members of the 304th Rescue Squadron – U.S. Air Force, based in Portland, were also on the ground, 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," Strovink said.

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.

Strovink says 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, 26-year old Luke Gullberg.

His body 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.

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