Skip to comments.Mt. Hood Body Identified As Kelly James
Posted on 12/18/2006 8:47:53 AM PST by george76
A missing climber found dead in a snow cave on Mount Hood was identified as a Dallas man who had placed a distress call to relatives a little more than a week ago, a person close to the family said Monday.
Searchers found the cave Sunday near the spot located by cell phone signals traced from Kelly James, who made a four-minute call to his family Dec. 10 just below the summit, said Jessica Nunez, a spokeswoman for the climber's family.
On Monday, a recovery team was expected to retrieve the body, which remained on the mountain over night because darkness made it too dangerous to retrieve. The search for two other climbers also was to resume on the treacherous north side of Oregon's highest mountain.
His body was found in a second snow cave near the first, about 300 feet below the summit. 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.
Monday's search would 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 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, decided to move from it.
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
It's been very confusing. First cave dug vs first cave found was giving me a headache.
You can and should use the stove inside the cave.
The main problem is CO. Therefore proper venting for fresh air is important always...not just for the stove.
Outside of the cave with big winds, the stove would not work well or maybe not at all.
I've been busy baking cookies
If you go to post 624219, it has great pictures. I don't know how to post pictures, or I would do it.
I wonder if they'll release the pictures from James's digital camera. Given they took photographs on the summit, it really makes me think the accident occured after the fact.
Come on over. You can help clean up the mess :>)
If they determine the 2 axes found in the so called small "cave" belonged to James then roamer_1's theory is probably the correct theory. All 3 probably started the descent when the accident happened with James being the surviving one. So far this makes the most sense.
Green line is Cooper Spur. Red line is left NF gully. Yellow line is right NF gully. Broad blue squiqqle area is the Eliot Glacier. Orangeish squiggle is the Snowdome.
Thank you. Some have been wondering exactly where the different routes are on the mountain. It looks a bit different now with all the snow however.
Ping to #309
As a point of order, one doesn't just walk along a 65 degree slope. This will be technical ice or rock climbing, rather than the "mountaineering" style you suggest.
Ascent is accomplished by using a belay technique, where one guy is anchored to the slope (the belayor) and the climbers ascend one at a time, with the point (first) climber placing protection points as he goes up. The belayor is the last to go up, being belayed from the top... He collects the protection points as he ascends.
Descent can be accomplished by down-climbing using a belay technique, but is most often completed by rappelling, where one loops the rope behind a sturdy protuberance, and making a controlled descent on the rope. When the last guy is down, simply pulling on one side of the rope or the other will allow the rope to snake down from above.
Traversing is done by a belay technique, with the point climber moving across the slope (placing protection along the way). When the line is sufficiently played out, the point climber sets a second belay point. Those climbers "in the middle" are essentially traversing on a "fixed line". The original belayor then comes across last (belayed by the point), pulling protection.
Climbers are usually on the rope one at a time.
In theory, the belay station is anchored differently than, though adjacent to the belayor... they are on different anchors. While this is the safest way, it isn't always practical. Also, since the belayor is controlling the rope slack, he is in contact with the belay station system anyway.
That all being said, yes, a condition could occur where the "point" and "middle" climber fall at once, and if the belayor is committed to the same anchors as the belay station, it is the belayor's decision to cut the rope, though it is the very last option.
As morbid as it sounds, it is understood, and is a responsibility as well, in order that someone live to tell the tale (for their families sakes).
Very close to your scenario, if I understand you.
>>First of all my deep sympathy to the families of these climbers. I myself climbed with Nikko in 2005 and I have been worrying about him and the other climbers since all this began. Today I still hold a glimmer of hope that Nikko and Brian are found.
Without making any judgment on their actions, I have been contemplating an alternate scenario to what has been discussed up until this point. I have tried to stick to facts and not speculation, but without the climber's to tell us what happened we may never know the whole story. Some of the information we get is presented as fact, and later turns out to be inaccurate. I'm sure as time goes by more factual information will surface and perhaps we will know a little more about the decisions that were made and be able to develop a more informed sequence of events.
All this being said, and using information gleaned from this site as well as from the media, here is an alternate scenario...
Is it possible that all 3 climbers were well when they dug the snow cave on the east side of the mountain? Perhaps they could not find their way to the Gates because of the weather or fatigue. Perhaps they chose to dig-in for the night on the east side to be out of the wind. They faired okay through the night. They arose at some point as the weather worsened and thought they still had a window of opportunity to get off the mountain. The wind was too high to go over the top and down the south side. The three felt they still had a chance and so they did not call for help. Instead, wet from the condensation in the cave, and with a developing storm, they began to descend. They would be cold and shivering as the dampness on their bodies froze. They set up an anchor and began the process to rappel down. An accident occurred. Someone slipped. James attempted to stop the fall, but dislocated his shoulder while holding the fall. His attempt at preventing the fall was unsuccessful. With his last energy and with hypothermia developing, he craws back to the cave. Once inside, he uses the last of his energy to make a desperate call for help on his cell phone.
If it is true that he made statements about Nikko flying and Brian gone for help in town, then perhaps with his condition worsening and with his mind unable to accept what he had seen, this was his mind trying to cope with the accident.
This might explain why the other two never called, the dislocated shoulder, the strained comments made by James.
No judgment here, no criticism of these guys, just another scenario for consideration. If I have missed a crucial piece of fact that contradicts this theory, then I apologize. I mean no harm to anyone. Just seeking closure. I welcome the thoughts of other experienced climbers. <<
ping to self
Hi Abigail Adams,
Happy I am of some service... faint service compared to what I get from this board.
Yeah, probably something like that, though I would opt for an ascent or traverse rather than a descent... Though it is possible they were down-climbing, and therefore needing a belay, descent is usually rappelling, which requires no belay.
I am not terribly familiar with the terrain or the routes on Hood so I would defer... But where they went over, If I read it correctly, was not the best descent- 2000 ft drop into the young end of a glacier sounds like a bad way to go to me. Looks more like they would either go up, or traverse to Cooper's(?) Spur which looks like a much easier descent. Easy=Fast.
Please check post #309. It shows the routes. That's why I asked to have it posted, so we would know the places we are discussing.
The red dot in post #309 is the position of the snow cave.
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