Searchers find no sign of climbers

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

PORTLAND, Ore. ” The weekend search for two climbers who vanished on Mount Hood last fall ended Sunday with no trace of the men.

Search teams were looking for the bodies of Brian Hall, 37, of Dallas, Texas, and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, 36, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who had reached the summit with a third man whose body was found in December.

Crews figured this weekend would be their best chance of recovering the bodies, and decided to have it coincide with a training exercise. The summer sun melted a lot of snow and ice, giving searchers a chance to peer into crevasses before the fall snows arrive.

But Russell Gubele of Mountain Wave Emergency Communications said the searchers were realistic in their expectations. “One of the reasons is that it has been covered so well before,” he said. “All the high probability areas have been checked and checked and checked again.”

Gubele said there will no more large searches unless someone on the mountain finds an article of clothing or some other clue that could lead them to Hall and Cooke.

The pair and Kelly James, 48, went to the summit of the 11,239-foot mountain in early December. The three spent the night in a snow cave near the top as bad weather closed in. The next day, Hall and Cooke apparently went to get help for James, who later made a cell phone call to his family.

James died of hypothermia while rescue teams below were stymied by storms. His body was later airlifted off the mountain.


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