High Winds Postpone Upper Mountain Recovery Operations

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Date: March 29, 2016
Contact: Patti Wold, PIO, 360-569-6701

An early morning attempt at an air recovery of the climber near Gibraltar Ledges encountered high and erratic winds on the upper mountain. Conditions prevented safe operations, shutting down operations for the day. Resources are being staged for recovery at the next opportunity, as weather permits.

TEMPORARY ROUTE CLOSURE: A temporary closure of the Gibraltar Ledges Route is in place until a successful recovery has been achieved.

The climbing party of two left Paradise on Thursday, March 24, for the summit via Gibraltar Ledges. They overnighted at Camp Muir on Friday night and began 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, was alert and ambulatory, was airlifted to a local hospital on Monday, March 28. The second member of the climbing party, a 58 year old male from Norway, is presumed deceased at 10,600 feet at Gibraltar Ledges. An unresponsive climber was located in the area of the ledges by air reconnaissance on Monday. On the climbing team's descent from the summit on Saturday, March 26, they were caught out overnight in a winter storm, causing them to take shelter from extreme wind, blowing snow, and frigid temperatures on the lee side of a ridge. During this time it is believed that the male climber succumbed to exposure.

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 have assisted Mount Rainier National Park staff throughout this incident. 



Last updated: March 29, 2016

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