Search for Missing Bodies of Two Mt. Hood Climbers
Saturday, Sep 8, 2007

Saturday, September 8th Portland Mountain Rescue, along with several other local search and rescue organizations, spent the day searching for the bodies of Jerry Cooke and Brian Hall, missing since December 2006. The two men were part of a climbing party that had ascended the mountain from the North side of Mt Hood. It is believed that the team became disoriented when a fierce blizzard engulfed the mountain and, unable to determine the correct descent route, bivouacked in a snow cave near the summit. At some point during the ordeal, Jerry Cooke and Brian Hall chose to leave fellow climber Kelly James in the snow cave to go for help. Judging from evidence later recovered from the mountain, authorities believe these two attempted to descend the complex labyrinth of cliffs and avalanche slopes on the north side of the mountain but were unsuccessful. Rescuers were later able to recover the body of Kelly James from the snow cave on the summit, but the bodies of Jerry Cooke and Brian Hall were not found.

Approximately 60 people showed up to help with the search efforts on Saturday. Hood River County Sheriff's Department coordinated search operation and rescuers from the Hood River Crag Rats, the 304th Air Force Squadron, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, and Deschutes County Sheriff's Search and Rescue participated in Saturday's search for the missing bodies. Rescuers focused on searching the Elliot and Newton Clark Glaciers, as well as the rocky headwalls on the upper mountain. Unfortunately, the search yielded no new clues as to the whereabouts of Cooke and Hall.