7/30/2014

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Sheriff: 'High probability' body found on Mt. Hood is missing climber

Sheriff: 'High probability' body found on Mt. Hood is missing climber

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. – Searchers are trying to reach a body on Mount Hood spotted by a helicopter crew on Saturday during their search for a missing climber.

Sgt. Robert Wurpes with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said searchers have not been able to get close enough to the body to confirm the identity, but "there is a high probability it is Dr. Kinley Adams."

The body was spotted at about 8,400 feet near the top of the Sandy Glacier by searchers in a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter at around 1:30 p.m.

There were no signs of life, Wurpes said.

“The area in which the body was located is on very difficult and technical terrain. Due to the extreme risk teams will not be able to get to the area today. As the day gets warmer, risks of rock and snow slide increase,” said Wurpes.

A recovery effort was planned for early Sunday morning. Nearly 30 people will help with the recovery, starting at 4 a.m.

Searchers estimate it will take four hours to reach the body and another one or two hours to determine the best way to bring it off the mountain.

The body is located in the area of the route Adams planned to take up the mountain. Sgt. Sean Collinson with Clackamas County Search and Rescue said he believes melting snow helped reveal the body on Saturday.

Adams’ family members said they believe Adams is now in heaven. They thanked everyone involved with the search.

"This is a very disappointing end to a difficult week. We do genuinely wish it had ended differently," said Adams' brother-in-law Mark Goetz, who spoke for the family.

"We're left with wrestling with hard things, and we will. And we know that Christ will go with us on this path," he said. "We are not alone."

The 59-year-old Salem dentist indicated he would take the Leuthold Couloir route to the summit, but he didn’t return from his climb last Saturday.

On Friday, search and rescue crews spotted two possible clues - an abandoned rope and a picket, or a climbing anchor. The National Guard said crew members aboard a Chinook helicopter spotted the items near Sandy Headwall, an area near the route Adams had planned to take.

Adams is an experienced climber who had been making frequent trips to Mount Hood in preparation for a trip to Nepal. He is thought to have a cellphone, but searchers have been unable to pinpoint the signal. His mountain locator beacon was found at home, apparently with gear he was planning to take to Nepal.

Extreme fog and otherwise inclement conditions made the search almost impossible for the first several days after Adams missed his scheduled return time of 3 p.m. last Saturday.

The weather finally broke on Thursday, allowing helicopters and crews to conduct a much more thorough search.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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