Update on Search Operations

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Date: March 28, 2016
Contact: Patti Wold, PIO, 360-569-6701

Today, two individuals were airlifted from Camp Muir by a Chinook CH47 out of Joint Base Lewis McChord assisted by park rangers. The patients, a snowshoer and one member of a two person climbing party, were unexpectedly caught in a winter storm overnight on Saturday, March 26, 2016, in two separate incidents. Both individuals were alert and ambulatory when taken to a local hospital. 

The second member of the climbing party, a 58 year old male from Norway, is believed to be at Gibraltar Ledges. An unresponsive climber was located in the area of the ledges this afternoon by air reconnaissance. Unfavorable weather conditions prevented crews from reaching the climber today. Operations have shut down for the night. Air and ground teams will attempt to reach the climber by midday tomorrow before the winds pick up. 

Incident Information is closed for the night and will open Tuesday at 7:30 am. 

The climbing party of two left Paradise on Thursday, March 24, for the summit via Gibraltar Ledges. Their permit indicates that they overnighted at Camp Muir on Friday night and were to begin their climb on Saturday morning, March 26. Private parties at Camp Muir reported overnight gear left there all day when no one returned to use it Saturday night. The park initiated search operations Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon one member of the climbing party was seen descending from the Gibraltar Ledges route to Camp Muir. Several individuals assisted the climber back to the public shelter at Camp Muir. The climber, a 41-year old female Canadian, is reported to be alert and ambulatory.

In a second, unrelated, incident a spot locator beacon began signaling on the Muir Snowfield Saturday night, and continued through the night. The beacon belongs to a solo snowshoer, a 26-year old male from Lacey, Washington, attempting to reach Camp Muir to overnight Saturday. The snowshoer eventually made it to Camp Muir on Sunday. He was treated by doctors at Madigan and released.

A winter storm hit the mountain Saturday night, at approximately 6:00 pm. Both parties were unexpectedly caught out overnight in blowing snow with temperatures in the single digits. Search crews encountered the same conditions Sunday while ascending to Camp Muir. 

Members of Seattle, Olympic, Tacoma, and Everett mountain rescues, volunteer Nordic Patrol, US Army Reserve B Company of the 1-214th Air Battalion and Northwest Helicopters assisted in today's operation.

-NPS-



Last updated: March 28, 2016

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