Conditions hamper Mount Hood search

Dec. 13, 2009 at 5:40 PM
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GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A full ground search for two missing climbers on Oregon's Mount Hood was called off Sunday, but a helicopter was brought in, officials said.

Dangerous avalanche conditions forced the Clackamas County, Ore., Sheriff's Office to suspend the search for Anthony Vietti, 24, of Longview, Ore., and Katti Nolan, 29, of Portland, Ore., after their climbing partner, Luke Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Wash., was found dead, KOIN-TV, Portland, reported.

But an Oregon Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was sent to the 11,239-foot mountain and did an initial assessment of the terrain Sunday morning, while a Civil Air Patrol team from Salem, Ore., also joined the search, the broadcaster reported.

KOIN-TV said calls for help were also issued to Portland Mountain Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue and the Hood River Craig Rats.

Gullberg's body was found Saturday night on Reid Glacier at an elevation of about 9,000 feet, KPTV, Portland, reported Sunday.

The cause of his death had yet to be determined.

Gullberg left the mountain's Timberline Lodge at 1 a.m. Friday with Vietti and Nolan. Searchers were called when the well-equipped and experienced climbers failed to return to Timberline Lodge by 2 p.m. Friday, Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman Jim Strovink said.

Search and rescue teams were hampered Saturday by falling snow and poor visibility, Strovink said.

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