NJ Priest Found Dead on Mount Hood

Fell from the summit

May 14, 2014
Outside Magazine
Mt. Hood reflected in Mirror Lake. nj priest outside online fell mountain

Mt. Hood reflected in Mirror Lake.    Wikimedia Commons

A 57-year-old man was found dead on the northeast side of Oregon's Mount Hood Tuesday. The man was identified as Robert J. Cormier, a Catholic priest from New Jersey.

Another climber witnessed the incident at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday and claimed to have seen Cormier, who was with a party of three people, standing on the summit before falling through a cornice to his death. He fell roughly 1,000 feet down the Eliot Glacier side of the mountain. Searchers found his body in a crevasse. "We've had this happen a few times," said Sergeant Peter Hughes of the Hood River County Sheriff's Office. "People have gone to take a look over to the north side of the mountain and actually fallen off the north side, which is a sheer face."

Cormier's group set out for the summit at about 1:45 a.m. from Timberline Lodge. According to Hughes, Cormier had been hiking well ahead of his companions, one of whom had a leg cramp. 

The 11,294-foot Mount Hood is a popular destination for climbers, but it has taken its share of lives. Cormier is the 30th climber to die on Mount Hood since 1959. Last August, novice climber Sebastian Kinasiewicz died while attempting to summit the mountain alone. Just one month before, 59-year-old Kinley Adams was found dead 8,400 feet up Mount Hood after he had been missing for a week. Adams was described as an experienced climber.