Katie Couric CBS News Interview with Karen James

PDF Dallas Morning News Article on James' House


“At 11,239 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point in Oregon, and each year, nearly ten thousand people attempt to climb it. Most climbers choose the route on the south side of the mountain near Timberline Lodge and make the climb in the spring and summer. Kelly, Brian, and Nikko wanted to tackle some serious ice climbing, and that’s why they chose to venture up the treacherous north face, above Eliot Glacier, near Cooper Spur, in the winter. Kelly and Brian were preparing for Everest and Mount Hood’s north face in the wintertime provided a training opportunity.”

– Karen James
December 2006 Timeline
Friday, December 8
Kelly, Brian, and Nikko left the Tilly Jane warming hut to ice climb the North face of Mount Hood.
Saturday, December 9
The climbers missed their pickup time at Timberline Lodge on the mountain’s South side indicating something
might be wrong.
Sunday, December 10
Kelly’s wife, Karen, and his older boys received a call from Kelly that he was trapped in a snow cave and Brian and Nikko left him to get help. Sheriff Joe Wampler launched an official search and rescue.
Monday, December 11
Families of the climbers and unprecedented resources arrived, but the brutal weather made it impossible to rescue Kelly in the snow cave or search for Brian and Nikko.
Thursday, December 14
Rescue attempts still not possible due to bad weather. The worst storm of the decade hit the mountain bringing hurricane-force winds.
Saturday, December 16
First good search day, but rescue efforts ended early after bad weather forced rescue workers to turn around. A Chinook helicopter spotted climbing gear.
Sunday, December 17
Rescue teams reached the summit and found Kelly’s body in a snow cave 300 feet below.
Monday, December 18
Kelly’s body was removed from the snow cave. The search for Brian and Nikko continued.
Thursday, December 21
Searchers abandoned rescue efforts to find Brian and Nikko.

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