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New Jersey priest dies in 1,000 foot fall from Mount Hood

Rescuers released the name of a climber from New Jersey who fell about 1,000 feet from the top of Oregon's tallest peak.

The Hood River County Sheriff's Office says 57-year-old Fr. Robert Cormier, a Catholic priest from New Jersey, died Tuesday.

Sheriff's office spokesman Pete Hughes said Cormier ascended Mount Hood's south side with two others, one of whom suffered a leg cramp.

Cormier continued alone and appeared to reach the summit before he fell near Eliot Glacier at the volcanic peak 50 miles east of Portland.

A helicopter photographed him, but crews saw no signs of life.

"There's too much danger to even attempt reaching him because of the danger of avalanche and falling rocks," authorities told OregonLive.com. "The rescue climbers are risk-takers, but even they said it would be reckless to try. It's just too unstable."

Hughes says rescuers will wait until next week to recover Cormier's body, when colder temperatures would afford them more stability on the rocks and ice. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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