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Road to Paradise opens at Mount Rainier, hiking advisory distributed to visitors

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 28, 2012 at 9:20 am |
January 29, 2012 2:21 pm

The road to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park opened at 8 a.m. for the first weekend since Jan. 14, when seven people became lost in severe storm conditions.

Three day hikers on snowshoes survived two frigid nights on the mountains, including two featured in today’s News Tribune, while two campers and two mountaineers still have not been found.

The search for the missing four is now considered a “extended, limited, continuous search,” but as many as eight park rangers are searching the Muir Snowfield today for signs of the people.

With the first large group of visitors coming to the mountain today since the people went missing, the park is circulating a flyer to visitors with instructions of what to do if they find any evidence of the missing people. The park is not encouraging visitors to search the mountain’s treacherous backcountry.

The hiker advisory asks hikers skier and climbers traveling between Paradise, Panorama Point, Camp Muir and the summit to report any physical clues, but not tracks.

Mark Vucich, 37, of San Diego and Michelle Trojanowksi, 30 of Atlanta, planned to conclude their camping trip on the Muir snowfield on Jan. 15. Sork Yang of Springfield, Ore., and Seol Hee Jin of South Korea, planned to finish their climb Jan. 16. Both climbers are 52.

Here is the Mount Rainier National Park hiker advisory:

Be on the lookout for clues related to missing hikers

Hikers in Mount Rainier National Park are advised to be on the lookout for physical evidence related to four hikers and climbers who have been missing in the Paradise area since mid-January. One party of two intended to camp on the Muir Snowfield and return on January 15. Another party of two was headed for the summit and was due out on January 16. Both parties are presumed to have been trapped by blizzard conditions, and despite extensive searches, no evidence of their fate has yet been found.

Hikers, skiers, and climbers traveling between Paradise, Panorama Point, Camp Muir, and the Summit should report any physical evidence they come across that might be related to the missing parties. We are interested in camping gear, clothing, or any other physical clues, but not tracks.

If you find something:

  • Do not remove it from its location.
  • If possible, take a photo of the item and its surroundings, and either GPS coordinates or a detailed description of the location.
  • Report your discovery in person at any visitor center or to any uniformed ranger; or, if you have a cell phone and a signal, call Mount Rainier Dispatch at 360-569-6600, or dial 911 and ask to be transferred to Mount Rainier Dispatch.
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