Three climbers who fell on Mt. Hood are found |

Three climbers who fell on Mt. Hood are found

PORTLAND, Ore. – Rescuers located three climbers who fell from a ledge on snowy Mount Hood on Sunday and all appeared to be in “relatively decent” condition, an official said.Rescuers were in the process of rappelling about 150 feet down a cliff to reach the three, but the effort was being hampered by whiteout conditions.”It’s snowing heavy. Conditions are awful” on the 11,239-foot mountain, said Russell Gubele, who was coordinating communications for the rescue operation.But rescuers were relieved to have located the three climbers _ along with five others in their party who had called emergency dispatchers to report the three had fallen off a cliff.The climbers who fell were found “very near” the five others, said Jim Strovink, spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.The five were on their way back down the mountain. Rescuers were in cell phone communication with the three who had fallen, while trying to reach the trio by rope, said Gubele.”They’re very cold,” Gubele said of the three.Of the three climbers, Strovink said “one guy appears to be OK” and the others may have concussions.”We believe all three are in relatively decent” condition, Strovink said.The drama on Oregon’s highest mountain began shortly before noon, when someone in the eight-person climbing party called emergency dispatchers to say three of the climbers had fallen off a cliff.The climbing mishap occurred at about the 8,500-foot level.Battling snow and strong winds, a team of rescue mountaineers scrambled up the mountain to search for the three who had fallen as well as the five others.The mountain can be treacherous for climbers, particularly in the winter. In December, search teams scoured Mount Hood for days in the hopes of finding a group of missing climbers alive. The bodies of Brian Hall, of Dallas, and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, of New York, have not been found. Another climber in their group, Kelly James, of Dallas, died of hypothermia.The three had set out on a two-day trek, but James called his family to say that the party was in trouble and that his two companions had gone downhill for help.

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