DALLAS – Kelly James, the climber whose body has been the only one recovered of three friends lost on Oregon's Mount Hood, was remembered Wednesday as an adventure-craving and spiritual outdoorsman who died where he wanted.
"He said when his time came, he wanted to go out on the mountain," said Frank James, eulogizing his younger brother. "He couldn't have choreographed a more glorious exit for him than to go out on the mountain."
More than 500 family members, friends and fellow climbers attended the service, held 10 days after rescuers found James' body in a snow cave near the peak of Oregon's highest mountain. His longtime love of climbing was a significant part of the service, down to the framed picture of James, 48, on a snowy mountain that rested atop his silver casket.
Jessica Nunez, a friend and spokeswoman for the family, said she did not believe that family members of the other two missing climbers attended. The service and burial were held three weeks to the day after Kelly, fellow Dallas resident Brian Hall, 37, and Jerry "Nikko" Cooke, 36, of New York, started out to scale the 11,239-foot summit.
Hall and Cooke have not been found and are presumed dead.
An autopsy report said James had been dead from hypothermia for several days when he was found. There was no X-ray evidence of a disabling injury. James made a four-minute cell phone call to his family Dec. 10, saying the climbing party was in trouble and his companions had gone for help.