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Contact: Kevin Bacher, PIO, 360-569-6701
Following the recovery yesterday of two bodies presumed to be those of climbers missing since January, searchers at Mount Rainier National Park scoured the mountainside today but did not locate anyone else.
Four climbers went missing in a series of storms in January. The body of Mark Vucich was discovered on the Muir Snowfield near the standard climbing route at about 8,000 feet elevation on August 6. A second body was spotted during routine helicopter operations on Thursday, September 6, on the edge of a crevasse at 8,200 feet near the top of the Paradise Glacier. Rangers quickly located a third body nearby, and both were taken by helicopter and ambulance yesterday afternoon to the Pierce County Medical Examiner. Searchers also found climbing gear buries in the snow.
It is likely that the two individuals recovered yesterday, a male and a female, are, like Vucich, members of the group of four that disappeared in January. Their identities will be confirmed by the Medical Examiner. The three remaining missing climbers are Michelle Trojanowski, Sork Yang, and Seol Hee Jin.
Searchers spent today looking for signs of the fourth climber, using hand probes, shovels, metal detectors, a search dog, a helicopter, and Recco avalanche transceivers. The search focused primarily on the two locations where bodies had previously been found, but did not turn up any significant new evidence.
The weather on Mount Rainier is expected to deteriorate over the next few days, and no clues have been found that would narrow down on the vast mountain to search next. The search will remain active but limited during scheduled flights and as crews are in the area. The park is interested in hearing from anybody who sees any items that may be associated with the missing climbers.