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6 climbers missing on Mount Rainier

Exploring The Pacific Northwest
By MANUEL VALDES
Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) -- 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.

The last contact the group had with the climbing company was on Wednesday. They were scheduled to reach the summit of Mount Rainier on Thursday, with a day to climb down. The group is equipped with satellite and mobile phones.


Missing Mt. Rainier Climber Identified

A small weather front that brought snow flurries and hail to the mountain moved in on Wednesday, Bauer said. The weather has been clear since then.

Alpine Ascents' director of programs, Gordon Janow, said he wasn't ready to release information about the climbers. "Let's hope they're found and that it goes well," he said.

Details - such as ages, gender or hometowns - for the climbers were not immediately available, Bauer said.

In a statement from the park, the guides were described as skilled.

In a blog post on the Alpine Ascents website Thursday, the post said the team had turned around at 13,000 feet during their attempt to reach the summit because of weather conditions. The blog post said all team members were well.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
kevin May 31 2014 at 9:41 PM

What is more dangerous....getting into shape and hiking up a mountain, or sitting in front of your computer, getting more and more obsese with each passing year, spending your whole life commentting on other peoples lives?

Flag Reply +54 rate up
36 replies
DANE May 31 2014 at 9:28 PM

It's kinda like dirt bike riding, being a pilot, a skydiver, etc... you do it because you want to, crave the excitement, born to do it, whatever.... "stuff" happens. I am getting mixed messages from the blog - but, if they haven'e been found dead yet, I certainly hope the training and expertise of the guides help pull them through.

Thoughts and prayers to all involved, including the family members, which must be worried sick...

Flag Reply +32 rate up
3 replies
kelmstra May 31 2014 at 9:17 PM

Why do people do stupid things like climb mountains then put others lives at risk. I think anyone who climbs a mountain MUST buy insurance to do so and to pay for any rescues that need to be done. They are wasting taxpayer money because they couldnt stay home and do something safe.
By the way looks like alot of snow on that mountain -- guess there is no global warming there.

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29 replies
Night hound May 31 2014 at 9:23 PM

I like excitement, challenge and adventure as well an any testosterone fueled male. But it's really hard to feel sorry for people who take dangerous risks...for fun.

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4 replies
henryusmale May 31 2014 at 9:09 PM

Not glad about it by any means.
But these types know what the dangers are when they went on this trek.
To use the resources of other people is not right when they need hauling out.
They should have all these arrangements made prior to going up these dangerous mountains. No arraggements made, then you can be fined ig time.
This is nothing new and, smart people are aware of the dangers.

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5 replies
patsy963 May 31 2014 at 9:40 PM

you can't put an old head on young shoulders . young people think they are invincible . I pray it turns out for them .

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2 replies
sharonlgain patsy963 May 31 2014 at 10:37 PM

As a former Mt. Rainier climber (approx. 45yo at the time), I can say w/ certainty that there are quite a few "older" climbers who attempt to summit. Also, I might add, while climbing Rainier is not easy, and climbers must be in very good shape if they hope to summit, it is definitely not one of the most dangerous climbs. In fact, at only 14,400 feet, oxygen tanks are generally not needed. P.S. I'm certainly not upper-middle class.

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2 replies
vanclaybor sharonlgain June 01 2014 at 8:00 AM

there are a bunch of different routes to the summit. is liberty ridge one of the more difficult ones?

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paulhzane sharonlgain June 01 2014 at 12:52 PM

Liberty Ridge is a very technical and dangerous route

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viperbl patsy963 June 01 2014 at 3:23 AM

ages haven't been released so stop jumping to conclusions grandma

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1 reply
Joe Sorrentino viperbl June 01 2014 at 7:13 AM

your grandma should slap the crap out of you for making a stupid statement like that..

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lefreak79 May 31 2014 at 9:37 PM

Bet they were white, middle to upper-middle class. . . . they always are. Why do these people endanger themselves and then endanger the people who have to rescue them? To me, it's a very egotistical and self-centered sport, to say the least. Tennis anyone?

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6 replies
wolfmann4u May 31 2014 at 10:58 PM

I like to climb and camp but is it really worth dying for

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3 replies
jubequinn June 01 2014 at 1:38 AM

A backpacking friend of mine checked with the Forrest Service when he entered the High Sierras and when he got out 3 days after he told the FS when was his arrival date they had no record of him hiking in at all. So much for making arrangments.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
Lindsay jubequinn June 01 2014 at 2:11 PM

Let's see here. Second hand news from a friend is what we are going with. First off the spelling of Forrest is wrong, secondly it is stated that this person checked with the "Forrest Service". Does that mean they had a permit or just told the Forest Service they were hiking? Next, the Forest Service is a land management agency and not a baby sitting agency. When someone is late or overdue the burden lies on Search and Rescue of that particular county and not the Forest Service. Did these hikers let family or friends know their schedule? Apparently not since no one seemed concerned about them being overdue. Sounds like your hiker friend did not make proper arrangments and was totally unprepared for their quest. This has nothing to do with the FS, but rather shows the inept ability of your hiker friend in being responsible. Glad I was not a part of your backpacking friend's arranged hike.

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thepeddler54 May 31 2014 at 10:11 PM

Who pays to rescue these people?
If they pay for their own rescue.. I support them fully. And I wish them well.
I am 60.. work for a living.. if I vacation.. I am responsible for my mistakes..
If aliens or foreigners.. send them a bill.

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2 replies
majorg1000 thepeddler54 May 31 2014 at 11:08 PM

Who pays to extract you from your overturned vehicle when you swerved for an animal in the road?

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6 replies
jubequinn thepeddler54 June 01 2014 at 1:07 AM

That depends on the circumstance. I did ask a ranger at the foot of Mt. Whitney in Ca. (14,494 ft the highest peak in the lower 49 states) what it would cost to rescue somebody on top and they said about $8,000 depending on the weather and depending on how many people and what are their injuries. Do they need just a Huey or a Chinnook Helicopter. They also said that it times they will charge the rescuees but really never get the payment. There are a lot of dumb people that should not be out there. Stick to your computers people if your not in any shape to be in the outdoors. I say if you can't pay your way then DON'T GO. These people love their jobs and one must remember that they may be putting themselves in more danger than you are in.

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