Searchers in helicopter spot rope, picket on Mount Hood

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. - Helicopters and ground crews spent much of Friday combing Mount Hood for a climber who's been missing nearly a week, and might have finally spotted two possible clues - an abandoned rope and a picket, or a climbing anchor.

The National Guard confirmed that crew members aboard a Chinook helicopter that was assessing the mountain spotted the items near Sandy Headwall, an area near the route 59-year-old Salem dentist Kinley Adams had planned to take.

Still, rescuers were not able to confirm the rope belonged to Adams.

Adams planned to take the Leuthold Couloir route, which is east of Sandy Headwall.

There were 18 search and rescue workers on the mountain Friday afternoon. At some point, the Chinook helicopter will drop off rescue teams to search the area as they move down the mountain.

The area is riddled with caves, making a recovery effort more difficult. The National Guard said crews won't be dropped from a helicopter unless they find more definitive clues.

By 5:30 p.m., crews had packed up and left for the day. They plan to resume the search at 2 a.m. Saturday and continue through the weekend.

Family members say they are still hopeful that Adams is alive but that it's getting harder as more time passes.

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.