PMR received a request to assist in the search for two overdue climbers on St. Helens. The subjects were 32 and 34 year-old brothers-in-law who had apparently left the Marble Mountain Snow Park the previous day.
Conditions were very wet with 3-4 inches of rainfall. Multiple rescue teams systematically searched the mountain. Eventually, the missing climbers walked out onto a trail and were picked up by a vehicle searcher. Debriefing indicated that the pair had reached the summit at around 2:00pm the previous day. They became disoriented in the poor visibility and ended up descending the wrong route. They camped overnight in drainage at around 3600′. In the morning they attempted to reorient themselves by heading back up in hopes of locating the trail that circles the mountain. They failed in this attempt. Deep snow concealed the trail and the climbers opted to follow a second gulley to the Southwest. This path eventually intersected the trail and the pair made their way out.
Weather conditions such as snowfall and visibility can change rapidly in the Cascades. It is always advised to know the route and be prepared with the appropriate gear and knowledge to navigate and survive in the wilderness if difficult conditions such as low visibility arise.