The mission to recover a body that authorities presumed was that of missing climber Kinley Adams was still in progress on Mount Hood Sunday evening, nearly 14 hours after the first team was launched.
Sgt. Dan Kraus with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said about 30 people were involved in the highly technical effort. Rescuers were descending the mountain, hanging from ropes and transporting the body by hand, more than 3,000 feet in elevation and 5 miles in distance.
The first team was launched at 3 a.m., then others ascended at 4 and 7 a.m.
“Our actual focus this evening is to make sure we take care of the family,” Kraus said.
Adams’ family had been standing vigil at Timberline Lodge throughout the week —some coming from as far as Washington, D.C.
The body was located about 1:30 p.m. Saturday by an Army National Guard air crew in a Black Hawk helicopter. It was at the top of Sandy Glacier at an elevation of 8,400 feet.
Officials said on Saturday the body had clothing that was consistent with what the 59-year-old Salem dentist was thought to have been wearing, but it was too dangerous to get close enough to make a positive identification. Adams had been missing one week.
Kraus expected the team to arrive at the trail head with the body between 7 and 8 p.m. Sunday. The plan was to have the remains transported from the trail head, at 5,000 feet elevation, to the medical examiner’s office, where it could be positively identified.
Army National Guard and an Air Force Reserve units were standing by to perform rescues in case the crews needed it.
Friends and family members said Adams was an experienced mountaineer and had been a member of the Santiam Pass Ski Patrol for decades.
Adams was expected to return from his climb in the afternoon of June 22. He had registered to climb the Leuthold Couloir route.
Whiteout conditions, including rain, wind, low temperatures, low visibility and snow hampered search efforts early in the week. Conditions cleared Thursday afternoon, and search efforts intensified.
“These crews have been going like you can’t believe,” Kraus said.
Search and rescue crews confirmed that the body recovered on Mt. Hood Sunday around 6 p.m. is that of 59-year-old Kinley Adams, of Salem.
The body was taken to the search base and then the Clackamas County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, there will be a medical examination today but results may not be ready for several days.