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Tacoma man found alive on Mount Rainier, grateful family issues statement

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 16, 2012 at 7:51 am with 28 Comments »
January 16, 2012 11:47 pm


UPDATE, 11:46 p.m. – Yong Kim was evacuated at 11 p.m. and was in good enough condition that he didn’t not need to travel to a hospital, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. Instead, he is going home.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m. – Yong Kim was the second save in three days for one rescuer.

UPDATE, 10 p.m. – Just spoke with Stefan Lofgren at Mount Rainier National Park. He said Kim is out of the backcountry and awaiting snow cat transportation on closed Stevens Canyon Road.

Here is a statement released moments ago by the Kim’s son, Malcom An:

On behalf of the Kim and An families, I would like to sincerely thank the entire collaborative team involved in the tremendous effort to save my father.  Through selfless, extraordinary acts, the search and rescue teams beat incredible odds to successfully find my lost father.


We were truly impressed with how well the project was organized and executed.  It is clear that Search and Rescue has come a very long way, built upon a long history and utilizing the latest technologies today as well.  Even before we had arrived, the team had developed a complex plan, and constantly adjusted with new information.  The coordination between the people in the field, the operations center, and our family was flawless.  We all recognize that this was a miracle from God, but clearly, a miracle assisted by his good people.

With that being said, my family and I would like to convey our most sincere gratitude to the entire National Park Service staff at Mount Rainier for their leadership, resources, and excellent communication.  Just a few names among many include Stefan Lofgren, and John Piastuck (NPS Search Team leaders), Chuck Young (Chief Park Ranger), Rebecca Roland and Mary Wysong (Family Liaison Rangers).  Unfortunately, we were not able to thank and interface with the entire team in person, but we know that there were over 100 different people searching for my father each day and most of them were volunteers!  We would like to send our deepest gratitude to all the Mountain Search and Rescue Teams including: Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Olympic, Volcano, Central Washington, and Portland, along with the three German Shepherd Search Dog Teams from around the state.  We would also like to thank the Ski Patrols from Crystal Mt., NPS Nordic Patrol, and the Emergency Medical Teams from both Washington and Oregon.  The response from around the area was amazing!  Just knowing that these people cared, giving up so much for my father touched all of our family and friends throughout the entire ordeal.  Lastly, sincere thanks to our family, friends, and church for their thoughts, prayers, and support from the beginning.

A terrible situation that could have ended in tragedy, instead turned into another beautiful example of how Americans come together to help each other.  Not for monetary gain or other selfish reasons, but because as a community, we care about each other.  In the end, God works in mysterious ways and we would like to especially thank our Lord, God for good people, his grace, and the love that ended up saving my father today.


UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.Rescuers have found snowshoer Yong Chun Kim alive, park spokeswoman Lee Taylor said. He is in stable condition and still in remote terrain, Taylor said. He is conscious and alert and it will likely take rescuers several hours to evacuate him, Taylor said. Kim will be taken to hospital. Rescuers found him at about 1:40 p.m. at the upper end of the Steven Creek drainage.

“I think it’s fair to say this is miraculous,” Taylor said.

Kim was found Mount Rainier patrol ranger Jordan Mammel and two volunteers from the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol, Pat Fleming and Everett Phillips.


Check back for more information.


UPDATE – At 9:19 a.m., a statement released by Mount Rainier National Park superintendent Randy King: “We are grateful for the assistance we are getting from so many different organizations. Hopefully with their help we will locate Mr. Kim today.” Organizations helping with the search include staff from Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks; Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol; German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington State; Volcanoes Rescue Team; and Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, Seattle, Olympic (Bremerton), Portland, and Central Washington.

The search party for the Tacoma man missing at Mount Rainier National Park has grown to more than 90 people today.

The searchers are from various places including Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks and the Tacoma, Olympic (Bremerton, Portland and Central Washington mountain rescue units. German Shepherd search dogs and members of the Crystal Mountain ski patrol are also helping with the search.

Yong Chun Kim, 66, has been missing since Saturday when he slipped down a steep slope while leading a group of 16 snowshoers in a hike above Paradise.

Instead of climbing back up the slope, he planned to hike around and meet the group farther down the trail. The group returned to Paradise at 2 p.m. Kim was carrying a radio and last contacted the group at 2:30, stating that he was OK and on his way.

When he did not arrive by 3 p.m., park service officials launched a search that lasted until 9 p.m.

The search is currently focused on the Stevens Creek drainage area. Backcountry campers told searchers yesterday of tracks they saw leading down the drainage.

The road to Paradise is closed above Longmire today.





Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. puyallup_leon says:

    I hope he’s still alive.

  2. tukwilatommygun says:

    rule number one. never seperate from your group. half should have stayed with mister Kim, the other go back and get Ranger assistance. hope he makes it out alive and can tell his story of what not to do. good luck.

  3. rawdibob says:

    So, how Yong Chun Kim going to rePAY the search and rescuers for his foolishness?

  4. guidocarmasi says:

    Foolishness? Give the guy a break. It was an accident that could have happed

  5. Ashford98304 says:

    3 cheers!

  6. Ashford98304 says:

    To clarify: 3 cheers that he was found alive and well! Kudos to the searchers, it has not been very nice weather out there.

  7. sunnyseattle says:

    Awesome!!! Best news of the day.

  8. fivecardstud says:

    I wonder how much that cost the citizens? Every year they have idiots that have no business on that mountain that have to be rescued. One yr. The rescuers and a helicopter was killed. I hope this guy has to reimburse everything it cost to rescue him.

  9. guidocarmasi says:

    Are you stating that Mr. Kim is an idiot Mr Stud? I am not sure by your tament you are playing with a full deck.

  10. All except the park Rangers are volunteers who gladly give of their time to go out and search for all sorts of individuals who become lost or stranded– for whatever reason. You might be the next person in need of the services of the SAR community — Consider that for all the time spent on missions — there are many more hours preparing for such missions — please be thankful for the generous nature of people willing to donate time and money to become proficient in all aspects of search and rescue in order to conduct safe and efficient search and rescue operations. A successful outcome such is this is really all the payment any of us in the SAR community really need — it is an awesome feeling.

  11. Given your logic Mr. Stud, I sure hope that some day your house isn’t on fire and the fire department lets it burn because you haven’t paid your fair share in taxes.

  12. strykerpro says:

    Im so happy they found this guy. What a great day. I was up hiking past Longmire today as of noon they were still searching for him. It must have been quite an epic ordeal. I look foreward to hearing his story.

  13. sunnyseattle says:

    For the people condemning this man for being stupid &” who is going to pay for his rescue”, etc.. need to re-think…I work every day in the hospital for people who can’t pay for their services due to lack of insurance…I wish more people were out there hiking and climbing mountains…..I would rather pay for their rescue than the millions of dollars going toward people killing themselves on their own couch..

  14. strykerpro says:


  15. flyingdutchman says:

    This was not a case of a person being an idiot. Things like this happen and that is why we have rescuers available. He shouldn’t have to feel like he needs to repay any monies. People here really need to get a clue.

  16. Kevindot1 says:

    Fantastic news!

  17. I’m going to chime in here. I have no mountain experience, apart from a weekend rappeling trip in dry weather nearly 30 years ago. But I have a friend who I wouldn’t doubt may chime in on this who knows a heck of a lot more about mountains and rescue than anyone in these threads will ever know, and I know EXACTLY what they would say….

    This guy, went into a hostile weather situation, unprepared, and found himself separated. This whole thing put himself, AND everyone who went to find him at risk! Yes, in my opinion, this guy IS a fool.

    People need to dig up some respect for their environment and properly prepare before they go off communing with nature!

  18. bobcat1a says:

    studly’s comment is typical of the groupthink associated with the “every man for himself” theory of government. Community is a dirty word to those folks.

  19. It would seem that this man was at least somewhat prepared for the conditions of the park. He lasted longer than Captain Survivalist who murdered a park ranger on New Years. And he survived while being old enough to be that POS’s grandpa. Glad to hear Mr. Kim will be rescued.

  20. Kevindot1 says:

    I couldn’t disagree more, Dcr628. This man is an experienced hiker who was well equipped and prepared for the hike he went on. He had an accident and fell down a steep slope, which can happens to even the most equipped and prepared winter hikers. He was only equipped for a day adventure, but clearly had enough with him, as well as knowledge and expertise to stay alive overnight. This man is no fool.

  21. The reason he’s alive is that he knew what he was doing.
    The reason the other guy up there is dead is that he
    was probably panicked out of his mind.

  22. beaulen1 says:

    I’m amazed and very happy he’s been found and is OK, I thought for sure this would end badly!

  23. Yay! I’m so happy he is safe and sound. It had to be so cold up there last night. Shame on those of you who are insulting his intelligence and whining about your stupid taxes–what a bunch of sociopaths you are. Go take a hike! Good for Mr. Kim for living life fully and helping others to enjoy our beautiful mountain.

  24. northwestrealtor says:

    Dear Yong Chun Kim,
    Old Chinese proverb say: “A stupid idea will occur once in a thousand thoughts of a smart man and a smart idea will occur once in a thousand thoughts of a stupid man.”

  25. Hobbledeyhoy says:

    Dude survived two dark, long January nights in the freezing cold and snow! Pretty amazing at any age.

  26. m9078jk3 says:

    Wow I thought that he would be a goner.Glad that he was rescued before the weather turns even more worse.

  27. nwcolorist says:

    If Mr. Kim had stayed put, he could have been rescued much quicker and at less cost.

    Years ago I came close to going over a cliff when I did the same thing as Kim – got off the trail and tried to find a ‘shortcut’ back to it.

    So glad this had a happy ending.

  28. cmarksneece says:

    I would just like to mention that we should all be happy for him and his family that he is home and safe. It takes a clear head to survive a night in bitter cold temperatures. In Colorado, we follow a program where outdoor enthusiasts can purchase a COSAR card for a nominal fee of $3 a year or $12 for 5 years. The fees collected will help offset any costs related to SAR. A fee of .25 is added to fishing licenses, etc to help with SAR, as well. It is a good and fair system. Perhaps other states should look into it.

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