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Budlong was last seen on September 24, 1995. He went on a solo climb up Mount Hood, a 11,235-foot peak in Mount Hood National Forest. He was climbing Cathedral Ridge on the left side of the mountain, a route he'd never taken before. When he didn't call home the next afternoon, his family became concerned. A search was launched on September 26, and search teams found Budlong's tent near the McNeil Point shelter, at the 7,000-foot level. Inside was a backpack, a sleeping bag, a climbing book and a Bible. There was no sign of Budlong, however. He has never been heard from again. The search efforts were hampered by freezing rain and high winds.
Budlong is a very experienced climber; he'd climbed Mount Hood 22 times before, and other mountains as well, and he'd survived an avalanche a few years before his disappearance. He was well-equipped with food and survival gear when he went missing, including a space blanket, warm clothing, crampons and an ice ax. He didn't have his helmet, however.
Authorities believe Budlong suffered an accident on the mountain, possibly on the Reid Glacier, but his body has never been recovered. He was employed as a global inventory manager for Nike at the time of his disappearance.
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Hood River Sheriff's Office