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Nick Hall: High winds halt recovery effort

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on June 28, 2012 at 8:38 am with No Comments »
June 28, 2012 5:37 pm

UPDATE, 3:40 P.M.: Attemtps to recover the body of Mount Rainier National Park climbing ranger Nick Hall have been suspended for today.

High winds made flying conditions too dangerous, according to park officials.

Wind measurements at Camp Muir, on the south side of the mountain at 10,188 feet, shows speeds have varied between 47-55 mph this afternoon, with gusts reaching as high as 70 mph.

Hall’s body is at about 11,500 feet on the northeast side of the mountain.

UPDATE, 1 P.M.: High winds are putting the recovery effort on Mount Rainier on hold.

“We’re waiting to see if the winds will calm down so we can continue,” said Rick Jones, spokesman for the incident management team handling the recovery.

In addition to keeping rescuers at bay, the winds prohibited getting an aircraft to Nick Hall’s body this morning.

Earlier report: Climbing rangers, assisted by helicopters, have begun the effort to recover the body of Nick Hall on Mount Rainier. A climbing ranger himself, Hall died a week ago when he fell 2,500 feet while taking part in a rescue of four climbers who had fallen into a crevasse.

Weather conditions today are providing an opportunity to safely fly a recovery attempt, said Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Kathy Steichen. She cautioned, however, that changes in the weather and mountain condition could cause changes to these plans.

Hall’s body will be flown to either Sunrise or the helipad near Kautz Creek for transport to the Pierce County medical examiner’s office in Tacoma.

Hall was helping pull four climbers from a crevasse on the Emmons Glacier when he fell approximately down the mountain. After the fall, Hall did not respond to attempts to contact him. Climbing rangers assisting in the rescue were able to reach Hall several hours after he fell and determined he had died.

A private memorial service is planned for Friday at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise. The park is trying to arrange alternate ways to view the service.

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