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Mount Rainier climbers who fell over cornice rescued

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on April 27, 2010 at 11:26 am |
April 27, 2010 3:05 pm

UPDATE:

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold just confirmed that both climbers have been rescued.  Both climbers, in their early 20s, were able to hike to Camp Muir where they were airlifted off the mountain. Both were suffering from symptoms of hypothermia and the female climber had neck and back pain.

UPDATE:

Rescuers have reached the male climber in the two-person party stranded overnight on Mount Rainier.

The climber, who had been in and out of consciousness, was able to walk up to Camp Muir so he could warm up.

More than 20 rescuers continue to work to reach the female climber. The female climber was able to call for help by cell phone and is thought to be in better condition than her rescued partner, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.

“At this point they do not appear to have a life-threatening injuries,” Wold said. “They (rescuers) are most concerned about hypothermia.”

A helicopter from Northwest Helicopters is waiting to extract the climbers, but the climbers might also walk of the mountain under their own power tonight or tomorrow, Wold said.

The climbers were ascending with the intent of summiting the 14,411-foot mountain. They where below 10,000 feet when they encountered blizzard conditions including temperatures as low 15 degrees and wind gusts as high as 92 mph.

Wold says it is possible they stepped over a cornice because of low visibility.

Climbing guides from International Mountain Guides and Alpine Ascents International are assisting rangers with the rescue, Wold said.

– Craig Hill

A rescue team at Mount Rainier National Park has located two climbers, one of whom was semi-conscious after falling 50 meters over a cornice. A ground team of three climbing rangers reached the climbers this morning, finding them between Anvil Rock and Muir Rock below Camp Muir.

About 5:45 p.m. Monday, a 911 call was made from a climbing party reporting they had fallen into a crevasse while en route to Camp Muir. The two climbers, one female and one male, in their early 20s, are from Quebec, Canada. The caller was in good condition, but her climber partner was semi-conscious at the time of the call.

At 6:20 this morning, one member of the climbing party made contact with the park through 911. She indicated that they are in the vicinity of Camp Muir, having traveled over the Muir Snowfield and past Anvil Rock prior to falling into a crevasse or over a cliff for a distance of 50 meters. Her climbing partner was unconscious at the time of the call.

Park rescue rangers have been mobilizing since the initial call. Five climbing rangers attempted to reach Camp Muir Monday night, but two turned back due to adverse weather conditions.

A helicopter has been placed on standby. Due to weather conditions, a flight Monday night was not possible.

Additional climbing rangers as well as teams from two commercial guide services are making their way to the accident site.

An MD 530 from Northwest helicopters is providing air support. Today’s weather is expected to be moist and unstable with diminishing winds and improved visibility as the day progresses.

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