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Blizzard slows rescue of 3 on Mount Hood

Dec. 13, 2006 at 9:50 AM

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Blizzard conditions Wednesday were frustrating rescuers trying to reach three mountain climbers lost near the peak of Oregon's 11,239-foot Mount Hood.

The trio began their ascent Thursday, but on Sunday, 48-year-old Kelly James of Dallas called his family on his cell phone and said he was stranded and the group was in some trouble, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Rescuers fear James has been injured or become disoriented from the cold, as his phone still has power and broadcast a signal in response to incoming calls Tuesday but Kelly did not answer.

The signal has given authorities an approximate location for him, but whiteout conditions frustrated two rescue crews of 40 people working both sides of the peak, the report said.

Family members of the other two men, Brian Hall, 37, of Dallas, and Jerry Cooke, 36, of Brooklyn, N.Y. said all three were all experienced climbers, dressed for the conditions and had survival training.

Seven students and two teachers from Portland's Oregon Episcopal School died in May 1986 when they were trapped in a blizzard on Mount Hood.

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