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    National Park Washington

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Lost Snowshoer Rescued After Three-day Search

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Date: January 16, 2012
Contact: Lee Taylor, 360-569-6562

A massive search for a snowshoer missing since Saturday in Mount Rainier National Park culminated in a successful rescue Monday night. A team of three searchers led by Park Ranger Jordan Mammel located missing snowshoer Yong Chun Kim at approximately 2:00 Monday afternoon in the Stevens Creek drainage just east of the Paradise area. Mr. Kim was conscious and alert, able to walk, and appeared to be in stable condition when they found him. It took until 11:00 p.m. to safely evacuate Mr. Kim by sled and snowcat. Mr. Kim's condition did not require any immediate medical care and he traveled home with his family.

Yong Chun Kim, 66, was leading a snowshoe walk for a hiking group from Tacoma Saturday afternoon when he slipped down a steep slope. He was unable to ascend back to the group and told them he would go around an meet them. His hiking companions returned to Paradise, and when Mr. Kim had not returned by 3:00, the National Park Service initiated a search, which continued on Sunday and Monday, ultimately involving more than 100 people. 

Mr. Kim is an experienced snowshoer who has done many day trips at Mount Rainier. He was well equipped for day travel but did not have overnight gear or experience. The search took place in mountainous terrain at an elevation of 4,000-6,000 feet. The weather was wintery, with fresh snow each day, low temperatures in the teens, and high winds. 

"It's a miracle that he is alive," said Kim's son Malcom An, "but it's an assisted miracle. I want to thank all the volunteers and the National Park Service staff who worked so hard to find my father."

Organizations that participated in the search include National Park Service staff from Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks; Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol; German Shepherd Search Dogs; Volcanoes Rescue Team; and Mountain Rescue Units from Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, Olympic, Portland, and Central Washington.


Did You Know?

Magenta Paintbrush

The Paradise meadows were once home to a golf course, rope tows for skiers, an auto campground, and rows of tent cabins. All of these activities damaged the meadows, as does walking off-trail. Management practices have changed over the years, and we now protect and restore our precious subalpine meadows.