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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 with 8 Comments »
April 27, 2010 3:05 pm


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.


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.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. fivecardstud says:

    I can’t understand why these people go up there every year and get into trouble. The cost to the state has to be enormous to rescue these idiots every yr. Especially the yr. they lost a helicopter rescuing one of them. You would think people would smarten up.

  2. To answer 5cardstud?
    We go up there becasue we love what we do. We go there for the same
    reason that fishermen, boaters, kayak people, sailing enthusiasts, hunters, skiers and all others who love the outdoors go. They too need rescue and I don’t ever
    here anyone complaining about them.
    Comparitive analysis will show mountaineering accidents are rare when
    measured against the above endeavors.


  3. I guess I’d like to see that comparative analysis.

  4. This turned out fairly well. There was a good possibility that one or both could have gotten way too cold. And remember, when bicycling,
    take a tuna sandwich!

  5. Whoa… who do you mean by “these people” and how exactly would you stop them? You mean, any and everyone who goes up to Mt. Rainier or just the ones who get unlucky? And would you stop them at the point of a gun, ie. with state laws? Or heck, you could make it a federal offense, eh? I suppose we could pass laws that say nobody could go up to the mountains but that would engender a lot of criminal activity & then think of all the prisons we’d have to build. Truth.. climbing Mt. R. is a huge draw for a lot of folks (full disclosure… NOT ME, I just skirt around far below the snow). It adds to our tourism $$$ and our prestige. WA is cool ’cause we’ve got these mountains, see? Instead of claiming that nobody should do this, let’s try to stay calm and realize that bad things happen when people commune with nature. Sad but true… and kudos to the Search & Rescue folks in all their various hats. They’re just awesome.

  6. nwcolorist says:

    Considering the thousands of people that swarm all over Rainier each year, it’s remarkable that there are as few accidents as there are.

  7. mscazier says:

    I’m happy they were rescued. They were very lucky, I have never been able to get cell service on Mt Rainier. Their cell service provider should use them in a ‘can you hear me now’ commercial.

    As to the expense: The rangers (some of the best climbers in the world work there) are employees at the National Park, and are there full time. The searchers from the two professional guide services in Ashford volunteered. The Mountain Rescue folks are also volunteers and train for these situations year round. I believe when they use the helicopter, the rescued climbers get the bill. It cost the taxpayers less to rescue them then it would to respond to a car wreck.

    I have climbed Mt Rainier. It’s an amazing experience. To train and condition for an upcoming climb, I climbed to Camp Muir last week, and am going again Friday. You should try it, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and quite a challenge.

  8. FreeAmerica says:

    I’m glad they were rescued… Do I have to pay for it? Or should they pay?

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