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Reports detail Sept. 8-9 rescues on Ruth Mountain, Mount Torment

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:43 am |
September 18, 2012 9:54 am

A trio of climbers were rescued on Sept. 9 from a crevasse on Ruth Mountain, just outside the northwest boundary of North Cascades National Park.

In a recap of the incident released today, chief ranger Kinsey Shilling said park dispatch was notified there were three injured climbers on Ruth Mountain. The climbers had fallen into a crevasse in mid-morning. One had managed to climb out on his own, reached a location with cell phone reception and dialed 911.
Whatcom County Search and Rescue was notified and alerted park dispatch to the situation. Rangers accepted a request from the sheriff’s office to assist with the rescue.

As a ground team of Bellingham Mountain Rescue volunteers started up the trail toward the mountain, two climbing rangers were transported to the scene in a contracted helicopter from HiLine Helicopters and located the injured climbers. They found that a separate climbing party had already extricated the remaining two critically injured and hypothermic climbers from the crevasse. They were separately short-hauled from their location on the glacier to a lower staging area. Two Airlift Northwest medical helicopters landed at this staging site, received the patients and flew them to hospitals in Seattle and Bellingham.

The third party member was flown by HiLine Helicopters to a roadside staging area and was met there by an ambulance for transport to Bellingham.

Bellingham Mountain Rescue volunteers assisted by retrieving gear left behind by the injured party and hiked back out to the trailhead.

The day before, park staffers were involved in a rescue on Mount Torment, Shilling said in a separate report.

Two climbers contacted a park climbing ranger in the field to report that a member of their team had fallen 100 feet onto rock on the south face of Mount Torment. They said he was initially unresponsive and confused and had possible internal injuries and a broken arm.

The climbing ranger contacted the man and secured the area for a helicopter hoist. In the dwindling daylight, a helicopter from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island arrived on scene, hoisted the injured man into the helicopter, and transported him to a local hospital.

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