It was a long and tragic weekend on Oregon’s Mt. Hood, where search and rescue teams combed the area searching for three missing climbers. That search turned tragic on Saturday when one of the climbers was found dead high on the mountain, while his two companions remain missing as of this writing.
On Friday, 26-year old Luke T. Gullberg, Kattie Nolan, 29, and Anthony Vietti, 24, set off to climb the 11,249 foot Mt. Hood, which is a popular mountaineering destination in all seasons, although obviously more challenging in the winter months, when deep snow and unpredictable weather can cause all kinds of problems. The three climbers were due back at 2 PM that afternoon, but when they didn’t arrive by Saturday, the search teams went into action.
Gulberg’s body was discovered on the Reid Glacier at about 9000 feet, along with some climbing gear, but no trace of Nolan or Vietti was discovered. The recovery team said they found a digital camera in Gulberg’s pack, which gave clues to the location of the missing climbers, but due to bad weather, heavy snow, and avalanche conditions, finding them won’t be an easy task. That task will be made all the more difficult by an incomplete climbing registration form and conflicting reports on the route they were taking to the summit.
The search is expected to continue today, with a National Guard and Coast Guard helicopter reporting to the area. The Coast Guard aircraft comes equipped with thermal imaging that should prove helpful to SAR teams, despite the adverse weather conditions. Search teams remain hopeful that Nolan and Vietti will still be found alive.