Six Climbers Reported Missing on Mt. Rainier; Helicopter Search Begun for 4 Clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International & 2 Guides (Update: Climbers Feared Dead After 3000 ft Fall)
Six climbers have been reported missing on Mt. Rainier in Washington state. The six climbers set out Monday along White River Trail, then reached Thumb Rock on Tuesday, elevation 10,700 feet. The group was last heard from on Wednesday night by satellite phone when they reported they were going to turn around because of bad weather. A helicopter search for the missing climbers is focusing on the northwest shoulder of the mountain at the Liberty Ridge area, near where they were last heard from.
Six climbers are missing on Mount Rainier, and a helicopter search was launched on Saturday for them, a National Parks spokeswoman said.
The missing group includes four clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International and two guides. They were due to return from the mountain on Friday. When they did not return, the climbing company notified park officials, Park Ranger Fawn Bauer said.
“The last contact with them was at 12,800 feet,” Bauer said.
Mount Rainier, southeast of Seattle, stands at 14,410 feet and attracts thousands of climbers trying to reach its summit every year.
The search for the missing climbers is focusing on the northwest shoulder of the mountain at the Liberty Ridge area, near where they were last heard from, Bauer said. Saturday’s search includes a team of three climbing rangers on the ground and flyovers with a Hughes helicopter. An Army Chinook helicopter is on standby at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
All six climbers are believed to be dead after searchers then spotted debris and climbing gear but no signs of life at the site. It is believed that the bodies of all six climbers are there, and it appears they fell about 3,300 feet down the face of a steep rockfall. Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said, “There is no viable chance of survival from such a fall.”
A group of six climbers missing on Mount Rainier are all believed to be dead after plunging more than 3,000 feet down a steep rockfall at the peak’s upper elevations.
A helicopter search was launched for the missing climbers Saturday morning after they failed to return on time from a scheduled five-day ascent of the mountain.
Officials said searchers found climbing gear and detected pings from the climbers’ emergency beacons at the 9,500-foot level of the mountain. Their last known location before that was at 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge.
“All indications point toward a fall of 3,300 feet from near the party’s last known location,” said Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold. “There is no viable chance of survival from such a fall.”