MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Lost Snowboarders Rescued After Two Nights On Mountain
Late on the afternoon of Sunday, November 11th, two snowboarders who were descending from Camp Muir became lost at the 7,300-foot elevation near McClure Rock, approximately two miles up the mountain from Paradise. They contacted 911 via cell phone, and rangers began organizing for a search the next morning. The two men, ages 20 and 21, had planned to be out only for the day, so had no overnight gear. They dug out a snow cave, where they spent their first night. A winter storm dropped over 20 inches of new snow that night. With a rapidly dying cell battery, they were able to contact park dispatch the following morning to report that they’d made it through the night and were marking their cave with their brightly colored snowboards. That day, 21 ground searchers made their way slowly through deep fresh snow and whiteout conditions to the snowboarders last known point near McClure Rock. Near the end of the day on Monday, one search group was able to make visual contact with them from about a half mile away. Due to darkness, avalanche conditions, poor visibility and exhaustion, though, the searchers were unable to locate them again and were called back to base. On the morning of November 13th, searchers reached the pair, who were near the location of the old Paradise ice caves. Neither suffered significant injuries. They were rewarmed and escorted back to Paradise. In all, 80 people were employed in the search in both support and operations. The IC on this incident was Stefan Lofgren.