A search for a Seattle climber reported missing Friday while skiing on Mount Rainier has turned up nothing, according to a spokesperson with Mount Rainier National Park.
Matthew Bunker was skiing ahead of his climbing partner near Thumb Rock on the north side of Mount Rainier, at about 10,400 feet, when he was believed to have fallen in steep terrain during the descent of the upper mountain, according to Kevin Bacher, a public information officer with the park.
The other members of Bunker’s climbing party reported him missing at 3 p.m. Friday, according to Bacher.
He’s the third person reported missing on Rainier in the past week. Park officials last week began two separate searches for missing hikers: Vincent Dije, a 25-year-old Indonesian student living in Seattle, and Talal Sabbagh, a 27-year-old Seattle man. Park officials have not announced that either of those hikers have been found.
Bunker is an outdoor photographer and a consultant at Deloitte, according to his LinkedIn profile and personal website.
A graduate of West Point, and an Army veteran, he previously worked as a mountaineering guide for Miyar Adventures, a Washington-based guiding service.
“He’s a really good guy, full of energy,” said Sandeep Nain, owner of Miyar Adventures and of Ascent Outdoors, a shop in Ballard. “He’s always ready to go on long runs, always smiling, always happy. He’s 28, but looked like he was 22. Tall, handsome, just always full of life and energy.”
Born in the Midwest, Bunker moved to Tacoma in 2014 for his military service, according to his website.
“Over the next four years nearly every weekend that wasn’t occupied on training missions I was in the woods — mountaineering, skiing, mountain biking and trail running,” he wrote.
Nain said Bunker helped lead trips last summer up Mount Baker and Glacier Peak. This year, with much of the guiding business shut down because of the novel coronavirus, he bought a $200 gift card to support his ex-colleagues, Nain said.
The National Park Service surveyed the area where Bunker was last seen by helicopter, but winds around Liberty Ridge prevented the helicopter from coming in close to the terrain.
Later in the evening, winds and increasing clouds hampered another search flight, carrying three climbing rangers. Poor flying conditions Saturday prevented additional flights.
The area below where Bunker went missing is known for its steep terrain, frequent avalanches and rockfall.
At nearby Liberty Ridge in 2014, six climbers died in an avalanche. The terrain, as well as the fragile surface of the Carbon Glacier, prohibits a ground search for Bunker.
The park service is not requesting additional help in searching for the missing climber, and will resume helicopter searches when the weather is more stable early in the week.