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Two Climbers Die in Fall

May 24, 1999

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Warm weather may have contributed to the deaths of a couple who fell more than 1,000 feet when mushy snow apparently gave way on their descent down Mount Hood.

The climbers, a husband and wife in their 20s whose names were not released, were roped together. One slipped and pulled the other down about 9 a.m. Sunday as they were coming off the 11,245-foot mountain 60 miles east of Portland.

``They were roped in and had all the right equipment,″ said Steve Fuhr, one of dozens of other climbers near the summit. ``They just took a bad fall.″

The snow was soft on the mountain as temperatures jumped into the low 90s for the first time this year across much of the state, said Craig McCurdy of the Hood River Crag Rats rescue team.

The couple had climbed the Cooper Spur route Saturday night and pitched a tent. They reached the summit about 8 a.m., stayed for about five minutes and then began their descent.

Crews were expected to remove the bodies today.

The last fatal accident on the peak was in May 1998, when a University of Portland physics professor was killed in an avalanche near the summit. About 10,000 people climb the mountain every year.

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