Stranded Atop A Mountain

Mount Hood climbers Jerry Cooke,left, Kelly James, center, and Brian Hall, in family photos.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

I've been thinking a lot about those missing climbers on Mount Hood in Oregon. I've had the good fortune to spend a lot of time in the mountains—hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.

In a blizzard on a mountainside, it's really hard to see. And if you start to think, "Well maybe I'll just go back down," your own trail in the snow disappears within minutes.

The climbers are all experienced. It sounds like they've done some pretty serious climbs in the past, though reports indicate they hadn't planned on being on the mountain long—a quick ascent and down again.

For its part, Mount Hood is not so high, but the way up these climbers picked was certainly challenging. I was caught on the summit of a mountain in Colorado once during a huge electrical storm. Nature isn't very forgiving in situations like that. Your mistakes get multiplied, and luck ends up playing a huge part in whether or not you come home.

I keep thinking about those climbers on Mount Hood. I keep hoping they'll get lucky.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith