Search Continues for Overdue Parties on Mount Rainier
Contact: Patti Wold, PIO, 360-569-6701
This morning teams searched areas of the Paradise Glacier, Alta Vista, Upper Stevens Canyon and Muir Snowfield for the two overdue parties. Searchers encountered 60+ mph winds, heavy snow, and minimal visibility, conditions too severe for search operations at higher elevations. The afternoon search focused on areas in question at lower elevations,w here they encountered ground blizzard conditions with 40+ mph winds, and ice crust and heavy snow making travel difficult. Searchers detected no sign of the overdue parties.
A US Army Reserve Chinook with a full crew is on standby at Joint Base Lewis McChord awaiting favorable flight conditions.
The plan for Sunday includes a possible air search and continued ground search. All operations are weather dependent and based on conservative risk assessments for searcher safety.
There are two teams of overdue parties currently on the mountain. A party of two, Mark Vucich, 37, of San Diego, CA and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, GA, planning to winter camp on the Muir Snowfield over the weekend was due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers, Sork (Eric) Yang, 52, of Springfield, OR, and Seol Hee Jin, from Korea, on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday January 16th.
The weather forecast calls for snow, temperatures in the teens and twenties, and high winds through the weekend. For more information on weather conditions visit the park weather webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/weather.htm. For a look at current conditions at Paradise visit the Webcam webpage http://www.nps.gov/mora/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Note that the Camp Muir webcam is not maintained in winter.