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One Year Later, Climbers Return to Mt. Hood in Triumph and Remembrance

May 31, 2003|From Associated Press

TIMBERLINE LODGE, Ore. — A yearlong journey of sorrow and doubt ended Friday as survivors of a deadly climbing accident silently released handfuls of yellow rose petals into the wind from the summit of Mt. Hood.

One year ago, the same group was struggling for survival after three of its members were swept into a crevasse by climbers above them who lost their footing and tumbled downhill.

Of the nine people pulled into the hole, three died and three were seriously injured. A helicopter later crashed during a dramatic rescue attempt captured on live television.

The group spent five minutes at the summit to read a poem, "The Mountains Are Calling," by Denes Eszenyi, and scatter rose petals at the request of the dead climbers' family members.

"It was awesome," said Selena Maestas, who reached the summit for the first time. "I can't even describe it -- just the fact that I made it and made it safely is so wonderful."

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