Mount Rainier Climber Still Missing as Search Stops
When Rob Plankers, 50, began to suffer from hypothermia and lost his ability to walk on Monday, his two climbing partners descended the mountain in search of help. They found rangers, but we're unable to get back to their friend, who was stuck 13,600 feet up, because a storm forced them to take cover.
A helicopter surveyed the area where Plankers was last seen and found no evidence of his presence. The search was suspended on Tuesday night pending further decisions by park employees on Wednesday.
The AP is reporting that park employees did find some of Planker's climbing gear and that searchers are now worried he may have taken a 2,000 foot fall off Liberty Ridge, a particularly thorny area of the mountain.
Planker is a seasoned climber who works at an outfitting store in nearby Olympia.
Rainier is a challenging mountain to climb because it towers over the rest of the Cascade Range, the 9,000 feet between its peak and base making it the most prominent mountain in the contiguous U.S. Rainier's accessibility makes it a particularly popular peak for experienced amateur climbers.
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