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Gear from missing climbers found

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Latest from the National Park Service on the recent Mount Rainier tragedy:

Liberty Ridge Search Comes to Tragic Conclusion
Date: May 31, 2014

Searchers located climbing gear and detected signals from avalanche beacons at the top of the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet in elevation during an extensive search for six missing climbers today. All indications point toward a fall of 3,300 feet from near the party’s last known location at 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge. There is no viable chance of survival from such a fall. The Liberty Ridge route is one of the more technical and advanced routes on the mountain.

The area the avalanche beacons were detected on the Carbon Glacier is extremely dangerous due to continuous rock and ice fall. At this point there are no plans to put people on the ground at the site because of the ongoing hazards. In the weeks and months to come the site will be checked periodically by aircraft. As snow melts and conditions change potential opportunities for a helicopter-based recovery will continue to be evaluated. There is no certainty that recovery is possible given the location.

“This accident represents a horrific loss for our guide partners and the families and loved ones of every one of the climbers lost on the mountain” stated Superintendent Randy King. “The climbing community is a small one and a close one and a loss of this magnitude touches many. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic accident.”

The party, consisting of two skilled climbing guides and four clients, began their climb on Monday, May 26, and was due out on Friday, May 30th. Alpine Ascents last spoke with their guides on Wednesday at 6:00 pm by satellite phone. At that time the party was at 12,800 feet with plans to overnight. Alpine Ascents reported the party missing at 4:30 pm on Friday, May 30th, when they failed to return to the trailhead as expected.

A ground search of the Liberty Ridge route and the Bergschrund was conducted by a team of three Mount Rainier National Park climbing rangers. The US Army Reserve 214th Air Division out of Joint Base Lewis McChord and Northwest Helicopters conducted the air search working with park rangers.

 

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Missing snowboarders found

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Two snowboarders at Mount Rainier National Park became lost during a snowstorm over the weekend and survived by spending the night in a snow cave. Snow caves are easy to make and practicing is good fun on a cold winter day. Park officials also recommend carrying essential gear when exploring the backcountry. Below is the National Park Service account of the ordeal:

Missing Snowboarders Found

Date: November 13, 2012

At approximately 1100 hours this morning, searchers at Mount Rainier National Park found the two snowboarders who have been missing since Sunday, November 11th. Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas Dale, 20, had spent Sunday snowboarding in the area above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park before they became lost in white-out winter snow conditions while descending from Camp Muir.

Monday’s search efforts focused on an area believed to be where the two snowboarders had spent Sunday evening. On late Monday afternoon searchers had a visual of what they believed were the missing snowboarders. Because of difficult terrain and low visibility, they were not able to make contact with these individuals before nightfall.

Today the park deployed a stronger search response over a greater area of the park, with volunteers from Tacoma, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue Teams; as well as four dog teams from the Washington Search and Rescue Task Force.

Derek and Thomas were found by one of the search groups in the Upper Stevens Creek drainage. Currently Mr. Tyndall and Mr. Dale are being rewarmed, as an appropriate way to extricate them is being determined.

Searchers utilized a combination of snowshoes and skis in the difficult conditions they found on the Mountain. Stefan Lofgren, the Incident Commander on this search said, “We are relieved to have found Derek and Thomas! The health and safety of not only our two lost subjects but all of our searchers had been and will continue to be our greatest concern today considering the high avalanche danger and the deep and laborious snow conditions.”

Mount Rainier is a beautiful and alluring place to visit in the winter; however it is a dynamic and extreme environment that become hazardous if you are not prepared. When planning a trip to Mount Rainier’s backcountry in the winter, consider these important tips:

Before you leave home check and heed local weather forecasts, realizing weather can change for the worse in a very short period of time. Know your experience and ability to survive in an alpine environment and don’t exceed. Always carry survival gear with you, including the 10 essentials. Bring extra clothing and food in case you have to spend the night out. Always leave word with someone on the specifics of where you’re going and when you expect to be home. It is always safest to not travel alone. While electronic locators and communication can be helpful, they cannot be always relied upon while in the Mount Rainier backcountry. Remember you need to be responsible for your own safety.

EARLIER RELEASE  ………

Search for missing snowboarders will continue tomorrow

Date: November 12, 2012

Searchers at Mount Rainier National Park were not able to locate two missing snowboarders today before night and poor weather drove them off the mountain.

Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas Dale, 20, called 9-1-1 at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11 to report that they had become lost in a winter storm while descending from Camp Muir. They had winter gear, smart phones, and a compass, but no overnight gear. The two checked in by cell phone this morning and reported that they had made a snow cave for the night and were cold but in good condition. The weather overnight was severe, with high winds and 20 inches of fresh snow at Paradise. Based on landmarks the two were able to describe in the fog, and information from their cell phone before the battery died, searcher focused on an area around McClure Rock at about 7500 feet elevation. A total of 28 people participated in the search, including 18 members of Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue and two search dogs from Kitsap County. A contract helicopter was on standby but the weather never cooperated enough for it to reach the search location.

About 3:00 this afternoon, one of the search teams made brief visual contact, from a distance of about half a mile, with two individuals who matched Tyndall and Dale’s description and seemed to be in good condition on the lower Paradise Glacier. Due to the steep terrain, it took several hours for the search teams to circle around to the location, and deep, fresh snow slowed progress to half a mile per hour with searchers trading off to break trail. Attempts to locate or contact the individuals proved unsuccessful. The search was called off for the day about 7 p.m. as night, weather, low visibility, increasing avalanche danger, and dangerous terrain made continued efforts dangerous and unproductive.

Ranger death at Rainier

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(NOTE: Originally posted June 22, 2012. Re-posted here for archival purposes)

From the National Park Service:

Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Dies During Rescue AttemptDate: June 21, 2012

A climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park has died during a rescue attempt on the Emmons Glacier Thursday afternoon. Ranger Nick Hall, 34, fell from the 13,700 foot level to about 10,000 feet on the mountain’s northeast side as he was helping to prepare other climbers for extrication by helicopter.

At approximately 1:45 p.m. Thursday, June 21, 2012, a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, fell at the 13,700 foot level of the Emmons Glacier as they were returning from a successful summit attempt on Mount Rainier. Two members of the party slid into a crevasse. A third member of the group was able to call for help using a cell phone, according to the National Park Service.

During the subsequent rescue, at 4:59 p.m., as the first of the climbers was being evacuated by helicopter, Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall fell, sliding more than 3,000 feet down the side of the mountain. He did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving. High winds and a rapidly lowering cloud ceiling made rescue efforts extremely difficult, but with the help of Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, three members of the original climbing party were lifted off the mountain by about 9:00 p.m. and taken to Madigan Hospital.

Nick Hall was a four-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine. He was unmarried and has no children. The names of the original four climbers will be released once all four families have been notified. Rescue and recovery efforts will resume in Friday morning. Sunrise, which had been scheduled to open for the season tomorrow morning, will remain closed while the incident is underway. We hope to reopen later in the day. (6.22.12)