• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Major Search Efforts Aided by Good Weather

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Date: January 23, 2012
Contact: Patti Wold, PIO, 360-569-6701

A break between storms provided a weather window for significant ground and air operations in the search for two missing parties on Mount Rainier.

Three aircraft conducted a major air search of the upper mountain including Ingraham, Cowilitz, and Paradise glaciers, the Muir Snowfield, and the summit today. Air resources include an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a contract Bell 206 helicopter from Northwest Helicopters, and a Washington State Patrol Cessna fixed wing with forward looking infrared. 

Today seven ground teams searched the Sluiskin Falls are, Lower Paradise Glacier, Upper Stevens Canyon above Lake Louise, and Mazama Ridge. Denali and Mount Rainier climbing rangers and staff, guides from Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated and International Mountain Guides, and Olympic, Tacoma, Snohomish, Yakima, Everett and Seattle Mountain Rescue are contributing to search operations. 

No sign of the two parties has been found over the seven day search period. The park will begin to scale down the operation into an extended limited continuous search. In hopes that the parties were able to walk out, searchers of remote areas of the park will be conducted when weather conditions permit. 

Search operations will not be conducted tomorrow due to expected winter storm conditions on the mountain.

The subjects of the search are four people in two parties that overdue since early last week. 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 and were due out on Sunday, January 15. A second party of two climbers, Sork (Erik) Yang, 52, of Springfield, OR, and Seol Hee Jin, 52, from Korea, on a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route was due back Monday, January 16th.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the Osceola Mudflow releasing from Mount Rainier.

About 5,600 years ago the summit and northeast face of Mount Rainier fell away in a massive landslide accompanied by volcanic explosions. The Osceola Mudflow, a towering wall of mud and rock, thundered down the White River Valley where it deposited 600' of debris eventually reaching the Puget Sound.