Here is a report on an incident at Mount Rainier National Park that was posted today on the National Park Service Web site:
On Sunday, Jan. 31, ranger Dan Van Der Elst responded to a visitor report of a woman who had fallen into a “hole” in the snow while skiing. Van Der Elst followed the reporting party to a moat beneath a short waterfall in an avalanche-prone snow gulley about three-quarters of a mile from Paradise. After an initial size up, he called for resources and assistance. Ranger Stefan Lofgren responded on skis with a hasty lower and raise kit. Due to the unknown condition of the woman and the avalanche danger, Lofgren quickly rappelled down the 20 feet into the moat through the waterfall she had fallen through. He made a quick medical assessment and rigged her up for a raise. Within 10 minutes, she was hauled back to the surface through the waterfall. A team of six other rangers arrived on scene as she was being pulled to the surface; they helped pull Lofgren out, walked the woman to Paradise, and packed out the rest of the gear. She suffered no traumatic physical injuries.