One climber has likely died from hypothermia and exposure on Mount Rainier after he and his climbing partner were caught in a winter storm over the weekend, a spokeswoman with Mount Rainier National Park said.
Update, 8:14 a.m. Tuesday, March 29:
A helicopter rescue crew Tuesday morning tried again to reach a 58-year-old Norwegian man who was caught in a storm on Mount Rainier over the weekend, but could not land at Camp Muir, a nearby climbing camp, because of high winds.
The crew will make another attempt Wednesday, said Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold.
Original post, last updated 6:43 p.m. Monday, March 28:
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MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK — One climber has likely died from hypothermia and exposure on Mount Rainier after he and his climbing partner were caught in a winter storm over the weekend, a spokeswoman with Mount Rainier National Park said.
A Chinook helicopter crew and other rescue teams on Monday were unable to reach the 58-year-old man from Norway because of poor weather. He and a 41-year-old Canadian woman apparently took shelter at about 11,000 feet when a fierce winter storm hit the mountain Saturday evening, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.
The woman descended the mountain alone on Sunday, and climbers who saw her escorted her to Camp Muir, a base camp at 10,188-foot on the peak’s south slope.
“It’s hard to see how he would have survived,” Wold said, noting that temperatures were in the single digits with lots of wind and blowing snow.
Park rescue crews began looking for the climbers on Saturday night after other climbers reported seeing overnight gear at Camp Muir but no one returning to the equipment as the storm raged. The pair had set off Thursday to summit the 14,410-foot glaciated peak with plans to begin their climb to the top on Saturday morning.
Park officials began preparing a search operation Saturday night, but extreme weather conditions prevented rescuers from mobilizing until Sunday. A Chinook helicopter crew tried to approach the mountain on Sunday, but it was unable to land because of the storm.
In a separate incident, a 26-year-old man from Lacey was snowshoeing alone over the weekend and was also caught in the storm. He suffered some frostbite, Wold said. He set off a distress signal from his locater beacon Saturday night, but he managed to reach Camp Muir on his own on Sunday.
Rescuers took the snowshoer and the female climber to a hospital for treatment, Wold said.