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Seattle man dies while after falling into Mount Rainier crevasse

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on July 28, 2010 at 10:25 am |
July 29, 2010 2:28 pm

Here is a link to Craig Hill’s story that ran in today’s News Tribune.

Lee F. Adams, 52, of Seattle, is believed dead after he and three other climbers fell Tuesday into a crevasse while descending Mount Rainier on the Emmons Glacier.

According to Lee Taylor, spokeswoman at Mount Rainier National Park, the four were at 13,000 feet on the mountain’s northeast flank when the last of the climbers on the rope fell.

Climbing rangers dispatched to the summit by helicopter recovered Adams’s body from the crevasse and were waiting for the helicopter to return to transport the body of the mountain, Taylor said.

The weight of the climber was enough to pull down the other three, and they all slid into a large crevasse.

“They tried to self-arrest but couldn’t and fell into the crevasse one after the other,” Taylor said.

She said they have not learned how far the group slid before falling into the crevasse.

Two of the group landed on a false floor in the crevasse and were not injured, Taylor said.

Adams and another climber fell deeper into the icy crack. The other suffered an injured knee.

Taylor said the three survivors were able to climb out of the crevasse and made their way to Camp Schurman at 9,510 feet on the mountain. They arrived at the camp about 3 p.m. and reported the incident to climbing rangers stationed there.

Two of the survivors are walking off the mountain today with the help of a climbing ranger while the injured climber was to be flown off the mountain today by helicopter.

Taylor said rangers are working their way to the accident scene now and hope to recover the body and fly it off the mountain later in the day.

None of the other climbers have been identified.

This is the third fatal accident on the upper mountain in a two-month span.

On June 5, Mark Wedeven, 29, of Olympia, disappeared after he was hit by an avalanche. Climbing the mountain alone, Wedeven was at 12,000 feet when the slide swept him away. His body has not been recovered. The slide hit 10 other climbers and three had to be dug out of the snow.

On July 4, 57-year-old Eric Lewis of Duvall disappeared after he apparently unclipped from a line while attempting to reach the summit with two other climbers. He either fell into a crevasse or was caught in an ice floe. Searchers found Lewis’ backpack, climbing harness and snow shovel at 13,600 feet, and a snow cave at 13,800. His body has not been recovered.

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