Mt. Hood looms over northern Oregon: majestic and soaring, a reminder of both the pleasures and the dangers of the wild. As rain falls in Portland, snow falls on the mountain. It covers the peak and, this week, makes the search for a pair of missing climbers nearly impossible.
Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti, both in their 20s, headed up the mountain with their friend, Luke Gullberg, on Friday. They left Timberline at 1 a.m. with plans to return that day. When they didn’t, a search began. Luke Gullberg’s body was found on Saturday morning. It is reported that he died of hypothermia after suffering from a “long, slow fall”. The search, now in its fourth day, continues for the other two climbers, but has been temporarily suspended due to worsening weather conditions.
As family and friends gather at Timberline (or, if they can’t be there, busily Tweet their thoughts), volunteers ready themselves to continue the search. Off the mountain many people look up at the mountain and think about what’s happened.
What’s your experience with Mt. Hood? Have you climbed it? What was that experience like? If not, have you ever wanted to? How does your experience illuminate what’s happening on the mountain right now?
Update 12/16 8:30 am: Now in its fifth day, an air search may continue with a military helicopter. Due to weather conditions continuing the ground search is pretty unlikely.
- Allan Brettman: Reporter for The Oregonian
- Monty Smith: Vice president of Portland Mountain Rescue
- Michael Leming: Climber who was rescued from Mt. Hood in January and a member of Portland Mountain Rescue
- David Sauerbrey: Spokesman and climb leader with the Mazamas