Two climbers' bodies on Mt. Hood were still roped together

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by KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 27 at 10:54 AM

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. -- Investigators recovered two bodies on Mount Hood Thursday that they believe were Anthony Vietti and his climbing companion, Katie Nolan.

Many of the same expert climbers who searched for the pair last year were among those who recovered the bodies.  They said it was a very emotional day for all of them.

The bodies were found at the 9,700-level of Reid Headwall and it appeared that the two climbers had fallen down a steep slope.  Climbers at the scene Thursday said the two were still roped together and located only about two feet apart.

"When we went back up... the warming we had this week had melted more of the snow and we could see we had both remains there," said Bob Brownback with Portland Mountain Rescue.

Searchers said that the location of the remains made it likely they were Vietti and Nolan, who never made it off the mountain from a December, 2009 climb.

The body of their climbing companion, Luke Gullberg was found last year, but the search was called off before searchers found Vietti (pictured left) and Nolan.

Gullberg, 26, was found at the base of the Reid Glacier at the 9,000-foot level of Oregon's highest peak, one day after the trio was reported missing. Rescue teams battled winter storms for five days, searching for Nolan and Vietti.

Clackamas County detective Jim Strovink said over the weekend the unidentified remains of one or two people were found and a recovery mission would happen in the next few days. Strovink said the recovery effort would be technical and challenging.

Two still missing from 2006 climb

In December 2006, Kelly James, Brian Hall and Jerry "Niko" Cooke died after deciding to continue their attempt to reach the summit even as a winter storm packing wind gusts up to 130 mph began to move in.

Stranded in a storm, James made a cell phone call to his wife but harsh weather thwarted searchers efforts to reach him. James' body was found in a snow cave but the bodies of his climb partners were never found.

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