Searchers retrieve body of missing Mount Hood climber

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. -- Searchers have recovered the body of missing Mount Hood climber Kinley Adams, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

Searchers set out early Sunday morning and reached the body nine hours later at around 11 a.m. They returned Sunday night at 6 p.m.

A medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine Adams' cause of death, but the results may not be available for several days, the sheriff's office said.

The recovery operation included 30 climbers and a few dozen support personnel, nearly all volunteers.

Adams' body had to be pulled down the mountain on a stretcher, through snow, ice and rapidly changing weather.

His body was spotted at about 8,400 feet near the top of the Sandy Glacier by searchers in a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The body was located in the area of the route Adams planned to take up the mountain. Sgt. Sean Collinson with Clackamas County Search and Rescue said he believes melting snow helped reveal the body on Saturday.

Adams' family members said they believe Adams is now in heaven. They thanked everyone involved with the search.

"This is a very disappointing end to a difficult week. We do genuinely wish it had ended differently," said Adams' brother-in-law Mark Goetz, who spoke for the family.

"We're left with wrestling with hard things, and we will. And we know that Christ will go with us on this path," he said. "We are not alone."

The 59-year-old Salem dentist indicated he would take the Leuthold Couloir route to the summit, but he didn't return from his climb last Saturday.

On Friday, search and rescue crews spotted two possible clues - an abandoned rope and a picket, or a climbing anchor. The National Guard said crew members aboard a Chinook helicopter spotted the items near Sandy Headwall, an area near the route Adams had planned to take.

Adams was an experienced climber who had been making frequent trips to Mount Hood in preparation for a trip to Nepal. He was thought to have a cellphone, but searchers were unable to pinpoint the signal. His mountain locator beacon was found at home, apparently with gear he was planning to take to Nepal.

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.

KATU's Dan Cassuto and the Associated Press contributed to this report.