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Search effort for missing climbers on Mt. Hood suspended; becomes recovery mission

A helicopter flies past Mt. Hood's Crater Rock on Sunday in search of two missing climbers.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced this afternoon that the search for two climbers that have been missing on Oregon's 11,249-foot Mt. Hood since Friday has been suspended and is now being handled as a recovery effort.

"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," Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a news release.

"My condolences go out to all the family and friends of Luke Gullberg, Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti. 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."

Avalanche danger and severe weather has kept search and rescue teams from reaching the area where  24-year-old Anthony Vietti, of Longview, Wash., and 29-year-old Katie Nolan, of Portland, Ore., are believed to be.

The climbers' families praised the efforts of search and rescue teams at a news conference today, reports Oregon Fox Television affiliate KPTV.

"They have risked their lives," David Nolan, Katie's father, said. "They have sacrificed time with their family and children. These guys have courage and valor."

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: A helicopter flies past Mt. Hood's Crater Rock on Sunday in search of two missing climbers. Credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press

Related:

Officials say chances are slim that missing Mt. Hood climbers are still alive

Severe weather may halt search for missing Mt. Hood climbers

Poor weather, avalanche danger hamper search for missing Mt. Hood climbers

 
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Comments (3)

I have been keeping up on this story since the beginning and I dont see how a chance of life can come to a halt. My heart hurt so bad to hear that they called off the search and that the family were ok with that..NOBODY knows for sure if they were alive or gone. I have teenage girls and tried to put myself in that situation but all I can come up with is that my child was out there I wouldnt stop till they were found. I am so very sorry for the family because that was probably the hardest decision that they will ever have to make but also no on will ever know if they were alive after they called the search off... Thank you to all the Rescue workers and my sincere heart out to the families!

Pretty sad indeed, but I disagree with with you, Clay... suspending S&R operations due to deteriorating weather, avalanche conditions, etc. all combined with the ultraslim chance of finding them alive makes perfect sense to me. It's not an easy decision to make, but the safety of the hundreds of volunteers should be weighed.

Did they want to discontinue the S&R effort? No, I'm sure they didn't want to. But, as the article says, they have put in all their efforts for days despite challenging altitude, severe weather and imminent avalanches. Those re difficult decisions to make and as an armchair S&R, it's hard to question their resolve and their ultimate decision. May they rest in peace and may their families find solace in this difficult time.

I have been climbing all of my adult life 15 years now. Been through hell and back with friends and family. I have been through tough treks and sticky spots that have left me worrying for the safety of others in our teams. I appreciate the time and efforts of all rescue team members involved in this sarch; you perform wonderful and heartless deeds. I will only say that the "threat" of an avalanche or bad weather is never enough to walk away and leave a fellow climber to perish; it is a shame.


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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