GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) – Rescuers located three climbers who fell from a ledge on snowy Mount Hood on Sunday, but rescue efforts were being hampered by blinding snow and wind, officials said.

Rescuers were trying to rappel 150 feet to reach the climbers, but were caught in whiteout conditions. Officials were in sporadic cell phone contact with the three, and believed they were in decent condition.

“They’re very cold,” said Russell Gubele, who was coordinating communications for the rescue operation.

Jim Strovink, spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, said one of the climbers was believed to be fine, and the other two may have suffered concussions.

The drama on Oregon’s highest mountain began shortly before noon, when someone in the eight-person climbing party called emergency dispatchers to say three of the climbers had fallen off a cliff.

The climbing mishap occurred at about the 8,300-foot level on the mountain, which is about 60 miles east of Portland.

Battling snow and winds that exceeded 70 mph, a team of rescue mountaineers scrambled up the mountain to search. The other members of the party were told to dig a snow cave and wait for help.

Authorities said the climbers were wearing electronic locator devices – similar to a beacon – that helped rescuers find them. One of the devices was activated after the fall.

The three climbers who fell were found near the five others, authorities said. The five were taken down to Timberline Lodge, a ski resort at the 6,000-foot level of Mount Hood.

, and all are reported in good condition, the sheriff’s office said in an e-mail.

The names of the climbers have not been released.

The mountain can be treacherous for climbers, particularly in the winter. In December, search teams scoured Mount Hood for days in the hopes of finding a group of missing climbers alive. The bodies of Brian Hall, of Dallas, and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, of New York, have not been found. Another climber in their group, Kelly James, of Dallas, died of hypothermia.

In the past 25 years, more than 35 climbers have died on the 11,239-foot mountain, one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.