Search ends for missing climbers on Mount Hood

PORTLAND — Someday, when the mountain yields her body from the snow and ice, climber Katie Nolan's ashes could be spread over Mount Hood, her father says.

Authorities on Wednesday formally ended the search for the 29-year-old Portland woman. She started up the peak last week with two fellow climbers but ran into trouble that has yet to be explained.

"I have no anger against Mount Hood," David Nolan said at a news conference. "It's rather majestic and beautiful."

He said his daughter loved the mountain so much, "she would like to be buried up there."

"Right now, she is," David Nolan said.

Katie Nolan and 24-year-old Anthony Vietti of Longview, Wash., remain missing and are presumed dead. On Saturday, mountain rescuers found the body of their friend Luke Gullberg, 26, of Des Moines, Wash. He died of exposure.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said efforts will turn to the recovery of the two bodies, when weather permits.

Mountaineers say the danger of an avalanche at high elevations is great, precluding retrieval attempts, and may remain so for much of the winter. The missing climbers are believed to be on a slope near the top of a peak that rises more than 11,000 feet.

Friends and family members have described the three climbers as deeply religious, and that was a theme of the Wednesday press conference appearances of David Nolan and Vietti's father, John.

"God has given us a peace about Katie," Nolan said.

Vietti said the work of rescuers and others who supported the family "doesn't come from anywhere but a love of God."

He said the fate of the two climbers was not God's repudiation of the prayers of thousands.

"He did answer prayer," Vietti said. "But the answer was 'no' in this situation."

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