Casualties of winter

“The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a Blizzard Warning for the Cascades…winds of 40 to 60…gusts of 75 to 95. Gusts reaching 100 to 130 on peaks and ridges. Snow accumulations of a foot or more...whiteout conditions occurring frequently. Do not travel. If you must travel...have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded...stay with your vehicle.”

Relatives of the lost climbers have flown in from all over the country, but I believe the search will soon be called off. No matter how much relatives might want it to continue, the risk to the searchers must be weighed against the odds that poorly equipped climbers who have been at 11,000’ for eight days are alive. So far this winter, an eight-year old boy was lost (and never found) at Crater Lake; two snowmobilers were lost near Mt. Bachelor (both were found but one died); and a family was lost in their car (the woman and two children were rescued, but the father died).

There could be other exposure-related deaths that I am unaware of since the newsworthiness of a story depends upon how long the drama continues and how appealing the victims are. For example, the prominent parents and their two baby girls received national attention, whereas the male snowmobilers were hardly mentioned even locally.