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P.O. Box 5391
Portland, Oregon
97228-5391

 
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503-222-PMRU (7678)
 
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2 Dead, 3 Injured in Separate Mount Rainier Accidents
Thursday, June 6, 2002
(Updated Saturday, June 8, 2002)
 
Assembled from news reports and first hand ranger accounts.
 
Two climbers are dead and three are injured after two separate accidents occur on Washington's Mount Rainier.  This comes 8 days after three other mountaineers lost their lives and one more was injured on the 14,410-foot mountain.
 
According to the National Park Service, two male climbers reached the summit of Mount Rainier sometime early Thursday morning, but apparently fell to their deaths while descending the icy slopes.  In an unrelated incident later that day, members of a roped, three-person climbing party were injured after falling into a crevasse.  The party consisted of a 50-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman from New Hampshire, who were to be married on the summit, and their minister/guide.
 
Weather conditions on the massive mountain were less than ideal.  High winds gusts and cold temperatures likely contributed to poor footing, which may have helped cause the accidents.  Though it may never be known how the first group of mountaineers was killed, the second accident occurred when one of the three climbers fell after a gust of wind.
 
Of the two deceased persons, one was a man from Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland.  The other man hailed from Big Flats, New York.
 
Climbing rangers Kessler and Charlton first came across the pair at 5:00 pm Wednesday evening at Ingraham Flats (11,100 feet).  The rangers did not approach them at that time, as the climbers were inside their tent and had been contacted the previous day at Camp Muir.
 
At approximately 9:00 pm, the same rangers, descending from the summit, encountered the ascending climbers near 13,000 feet.  Ranger Kessler initiated a short conversation regarding route information and the inhospitable conditions on the mountain's summit.  However, according to Kessler, the climbers seemed to be prepared for the tasks ahead and concurred that they would only stay on the summit for a few minutes before beginning their descent.  This was the last time that the climbers were seen alive.
 
Mount Rainier climbing rangers initiated a search late Thursday after the climbers had not returned to their camp.  Their bodies were spotted from the air near 5:30 pm Thursday afternoon and later recovered.
 
In the unrelated accident where three people fell into a crevasse, climbing rangers and guides from Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) extricated the injured climbing party from the glacier.  The couple, hoping to be married that day, instead suffered various fractures and minor head injuries, while the minister was not seriously hurt.  All three will recover from their injuries.
 
Located 103 miles Northeast of Portland, Mount Rainier is the tallest Cascade Range mountain and is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  The Washington peak is well known for its level of difficulty and unpredictable weather patterns.
 

 

2001- Portland Mountain Rescue
P.O. Box 5391
Portland, Oregon  97228-5391
 
Phone: 503.222.PMRU (7678)
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