Mount Rainier National Park sent rangers Tuesday to check trails near the Paradise visitors' center that might be used by two campers and two climbers overdue during a severe storm that is dropping 2-to-3 feet of fresh snow.
Mount Rainier National Park sent rangers Tuesday to check trails near the Paradise visitors’ center that might be used by two campers and two climbers overdue during a severe storm that is dropping 2-to-3 feet of fresh snow.
Both groups are well-equipped and are expected to hunker down through the bad weather, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.
“Of course we’re worried,” she said. “They have tents, sleeping bags – the gear they need to get them through. What we tell people is if the weather gets really bad to stop, dig in and wait it out. That’s what we hope they’re doing.”
Rangers are checking trails they can reach safely.
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“We’re doing what we can without putting our folks at risk,” Wold said. “It’s a huge storm we’re having and we can’t put our people out there knowing something could happen to them.”
The campers are a 37-year-old man from San Diego and a 30-year-old woman from Atlanta who were due back Sunday. The climbers are a couple from Springfield, Ore., who were due back Monday. Their names were not released.
On Monday, searchers rescued a Tacoma man who had been lost for two days after sliding away from a group he was leading on a snowshoe hike.
Forecasters said one of the most severe winter storms in years would dump heavy snow on the Cascades Wednesday.
“We can’t stop people from coming up there; the national park is owned by the public,” Wold said. “They have to make their own decisions.”
The 14,410-foot volcano about 70 miles southeast of Seattle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state through the year. The Paradise center is at the 5,400-foot level. The campers were believed to be on the Muir snowfield at the 10,000-foot level.