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A climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park has died during a rescue attempt on the Emmons Glacier this afternoon. Ranger Nick Hall, 34, fell from the 13,700 foot level to about 10,000 feeet on the mountain's northeast side as he was helping to prepare other climbers for extrication by helicopter.
At approximately 1:45 p.m. this afternoon, Thrusday, June 21, 2012, a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, fell at the 13,700 foot level of the Emmons Glacier as they were returning from a successful summit attempt on Mount Rainier. Two members of the party slid into a crevasse. A third member of the group was able to call for help using a cell phone. During the subsequent rescue, at 4:59 p.m., as the first of the climbers was being evacuated by helicopter, Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall fell, sliding more than 3,000 feet down the side of the mountain. He did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving. High winds and a rapidly lowering cloud ceiling made rescue efforts extremely difficult, but with the help of Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, three members of the original climbing party were lifted off the mountain by about 9:00 p.m. and taken to Madigan Hospital. The remaining member of the party is spending the night on the mountain with climbing rangers from Mount Rainier National Park, and rescue options will be reassessed in the morning. All four suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Climbers reached Ranger Hall several hours after the incident began and found him to be deceased. Information about Nick's fall was not initially released pending notification of his family and that of other climbing rangers who might be worried prior to the release of Nick's name. Nick Hall is a 4-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park's climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine. He was unmarried and has no children. The names of the original four climbers will be released once all four families have been notified. Rescue and recovery efforts will resume in the morning. Sunrise, which had been scheduled to open for the season tomorrow morning, will remain closed while the incident is underway. We hope to reopen later in the day.