Chuck Young, chief ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, today released this report of a rescue on the upper mountain on Sunday:
On the afternoon of Sunday, July 24, park dispatch received an emergency personal locator beacon signal from a party climbing high on the Kautz Glacier route on Mount Rainier. After determining the location of the signal, climbing rangers from Camp Muir responded on foot to find a visitor with a probable fractured tibia/fibula. The climber was injured after hitting a rock while “glissading” down a steep snow slope.
A team of ten rescuers worked throughout the night to evacuate the injured climber across three miles of steep and glaciated terrain. The rescue required complex rigging techniques to complete nearly 2,000 feet of roped lowering.
After reaching the lower Nisqually Glacier, the team was met by seven additional rangers from Paradise who assisted with a technical hauling system and the remainder of the evacuation to the trailhead.
The rescue effort lasted 19 hours from the time the initial call was received. Technical evacuations of this length and complexity are infrequent but provide a valuable opportunity for rangers from several districts to work together.