First of all, I admire these guys for attempting this route in the winter. Remember that they were attempting Hood from the north which has only a handful of ascents each year and clearly very few in the winter (in contrast to Hoods south side which has countless ascents up its ski area). It's a solid approach even in the summer...then the final headwall to reach the summit is steep and relatively sustained.
I climbed this route in April of '04 with several buddies including super blind guy, Erik. We were the first party to attempt the north face of the season which was quite a treat. We intentionally bivied (camped) in a partial snow cave right at the base of the headwall...I imagine right were these guys made their primary cave and where the one dead climber was found yesterday.
I have pretty strong opinions about calling for help while voluntarily out in the mountains...attempting a route. This probably comes from my years of working with the National Park Service as a volunteer climbing ranger in the Alaska Range...primarily on Denali (Mt McKinley). Countless times we would receive a distress call from a 'climber in need'. Many times the calls were justified and the party was in significant trouble...however, often times the climber was simply exhausted...too tired to get down.
In my opinion (and many others) the presence of the NPS Search and Rescue team has unintentionally given climbers the hubris to stretch beyond their limitations...knowing that if they get in trouble, one of the best SAR teams in the world will be at their beckon call. I remember getting the call on one occasion from a Japanese climber that had 'broken' his ankle and was stranded up at 18,000 ft on Denali (the 'football field'). After a lengthy helicopter rescue where several rescuer's lives were put at risk, he was carried down to the mountain's basecamp at 7,200 ft and proceeded to walk with ease out of the helicopter and into the basecamp yurt. After some subtle coaxing he admitted that his ankle was mildly sprained....his ailment was actually severe fatigue and he felt that he was due a rescue after paying his Park Service fee prior to his ascent. Obviously this chaffed many of us and cost the taxpayer well over $2000.
These fellows were somewhat experienced in the mountains and appear to have attempted to get themselves out of their dire situation prior to the distress cell phone call. By doing this they exonerated themselves from the 'I can go further than my means, because I know someone will pull me out of the shit if it gets deep' syndrome.