Kyle Bufis, 25, went missing Thursday while descending from Liberty Cap with two other climbers. The National Park Service says the body found Saturday seems to match the man's description.
Update. 3:01 p.m.:
The search for Kyle Bufis was suspended Saturday after the body of a male climber was spotted by the search helicopter near the summit of Mount Rainier. Climbing rangers are retrieving the body, the National Park Service reported just before 3 p.m.
The body seems to match a description of Bufis, according to the National Park Service, but it will be up to the Pierce County Medical Examiner to confirm the identity.
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The search continued Saturday morning for Kyle Bufis, a climber missing near Liberty Ridge on Mount Rainier, according to Mount Rainier National Park.
Bufis, 25, went missing at about 9 p.m. Thursday while descending from Liberty Cap with two others, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said. There were high winds and low visibility at the time, Wold said.
The other two members of the climbing team — Derek Gavelis and Matthew Wiech — descended to Camp Schurman on their own late Friday afternoon and are in good physical condition, Wold said in a Saturday news release.
The Saturday search is focused on the area where the Winthrop and Emmons glaciers come together, according to the news release. The search will include two air operations: One involves an Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook helicopter that will conduct a visual search; the other involves an Airlift Northwest helicopter that will search for signals from an avalanche beacon believed to be carried by Bufis and that will look into crevasses from the air.
The weather is expected to become increasingly favorable for search efforts throughout the day, according to the news release. A temporary flight restriction remains in place.
Bufis, who is from Utah, was last seen by the other two climbers in the party at 14,000 feet near Liberty Saddle on the mountain’s north flank.
Wold said the two other climbers spent the night in a crevasse, according to a text message sent by one Thursday night.
The initial missing-person report reached park headquarters at 5:10 a.m. Friday.
The typical Mount Rainier climbing season runs April through September.
Though less than 2 percent of Mount Rainier climbers attempt to summit via Liberty Ridge, the route now accounts for about 25 percent of all deaths on summit climbs, according to National Park statistics.
Six climbers were killed in a 3,300-foot fall along the Liberty Ridge route a year ago in the worst disaster on the mountain in more than three decades.