UPDATED 4:04 P.M.
A 54-year-old New York man died sometime during a snowshoe hike that began Sunday above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. Dead is Brian Grobois of New Rochelle, N.Y.
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was used Tuesday morning to lift Grobois from the mountain and take him to Madigan Army Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It appeared he had been dead for 24 hours,” said park spokeswoman Patti Wold.
“We have no idea what happened. (Rangers) had seen footprints in the area, so if he fell, it wasn’t from a distance,” Wold added. “We just don’t know what happened yet. We may never know.”
Rangers scanned the scene from a helicopter Tuesday afternoon, trying to determine what might have taken place. A ground team might investigate the area today.
Grobois’ car was seen in the Paradise parking lot Sunday night and again early Monday morning, Wold said. At 9 a.m. Monday, his family called the park to report him overdue.
Six search and rescues teams, as well as a helicopter, began a search. Late in the afternoon, the helicopter crew spotted Grobois laying in the snow at the top of the Stevens Creek drainage. There was a dusting of snow on him.
The scene is northeast of Paradise at 5,500-6,000 feet in elevation, not far from the Paradise Glacier Trail on the south side of the 14,411-foot mountain.
Because of rough terrain in the area and fast approaching darkness, it was decided not to send in a ground team Monday evening.
A team reached the scene Tuesday morning and was able to load Grobois aboard the C-47, Wold said.
Temperatures at Paradise reached a low of 14 degrees Sunday night and were in the mid 20s Monday night.
Grobois is the third person to die on the mountain this year.
Roger Alan Wagner, 59, of Ocala, Fla., died Sept. 13 when he slipped and fell 40 feet while taking photos at Christine Falls. Tucker Taffe, 33, of Alta, Utah, died of asphyxiation May 10 after falling 100-150 feet into a crevasse on the Nisqually Glacier.