HOOD RIVER, Ore. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Climbers have reached the body of a Roman Catholic priest from New Jersey who fell to his death on Mount Hood in Oregon last week.
The Rev. Robert Cormier was pastor of St. Patrick and Assumption/All Saints parish.
Known as “Father Bob” to parishioners, Cormier was climbing with two long-time friends. He reached the summit of the 11,240-foot peak east of Portland on May 13.
But then he went onto a shelf of snow that gave way, was seen falling through a ledge of ice and tumbling about 1,000 feet.
The recovery climb was delayed until temperatures on the mountain fell, reducing the risk of loose rocks or an avalanche.
The Hood River County, Oregon, sheriff’s department said two teams of climbers set out about 1 a.m. Wednesday on an operation considered “very dangerous,” but safer this week than last.
The Oregonian reported that sheriff’s Sgt. Pete Hughes said the recovery climbers have run into a number of problems. They found that the body had fallen about 50 feet down a crevasse. Hughes says there have also been issues with ropes and falling rocks.
Cormier, an author of three books, worked for 17 years at St. Rose of Lima in Newark, where he was fluent in Spanish.
“He was even more fluent in Portuguese, spoke Italian, a bit of French and a little bit of a few other languages,” retired church pastor Rev. Eugene Squeo said.
Cormier was a part-time climber and a full-time priest. His remains will be returned to the place where he said Mass every day for a funeral.
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