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Injured climbing ranger rescued after 40-foot fall on Rainier

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on July 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
July 1, 2009 4:19 pm

A climbing ranger was airlifted from the northern slopes of Mount Rainier on Wednesday afternoon after he fell about 40 feet into a crevasse, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said.

Sam Wick, 27, broke through a snow bridge at about 10,000 feet while skiing down from Rainier’s 14,411-foot summit. Fellow ranger Cooper Self, also a member of the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol, was skiing with Wick and was the first to respond. Both men were on their scheduled patrol.

An off-duty climbing ranger and a guide from Ashford-based International Mountain Guides also assisted in removing wick from the crevasse, Taylor said. Guides from Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International also helped with the rescue.

Anne Keller, a former Crystal ski patroller, was the lead guide for the IMG party that helped with the rescue, IMG co-director George Dunn said.

An Aerostar helicopter landed on the Emmons Glacier and lifted Wick off the mountain at about 3:50 p.m. Wick was taken to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

Wick may have a broken leg, but his injuries did not appear to be life threatening, Taylor said.

Wick is in his fourth season as a climbing ranger on Mount Rainier and is stationed with Self, 28, at Camp Schurman, located at 9,510 feet on the north side of mountain. Wick was honored by the park in 2007 for giving more than 1,000 hours of volunteer service.

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