Entries in Climbers (4)


Mount Rainier Ranger Falls to Death Trying to Save Climbers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONGMIRE, Wash.) -- A climbing ranger fell to his death Thursday afternoon while he was trying to extract four injured climbers off of Mt. Rainier in Washington state.

Nick Hall, 34, plummeted over 3,000 feet as a military helicopter assisted in the rescue.

"We were in the process of effecting that extrication with the help of a Chinook helicopter from Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord when one of our climbing rangers Nick Hall fell," said Mount Rainier National Park spokesman Kevin Bacher.

Hall, who was an experienced climber and had been a ranger for four years, was unresponsive after the fall.  When rescue teams reached him, he was already dead, Bacher said.

"We're stunned. This is.. this is absolutely the worst possible outcome," Bacher said.

Three of the injured climbers have since been removed from the mountain, but one remains there along with two other climbing rangers as they wait for a storm to pass.  Once the weather clears up, rescuers can safely go back in to extract them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Climber Survives Fall on Oregon's Mount Hood

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Just a week after climber Mark Cartier, 56, fell 1,000 feet to his death, another climber has fallen down an icy slope in the Hogsback area of Oregon’s Mount Hood.

Fortunately this time, the climber, identified by Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as Gary Morgan, 52, survived.

Morgan fell 400 to 500 feet while climbing alone on the Hogsback area Thursday morning, ABC News affiliate KATU reported -- the same area Cartier had been climbing.  Several rescue groups immediately began efforts to reach and transport Morgan after Clackamas County dispatchers received a 911 call just before 9:30 a.m.  

Morgan suffered a serious injury to his hip and leg, Sgt. Adam Phillips with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said.

KATU reported two witnesses saw Morgan sliding down the mountain.

“He fell right into this crevasse area…. He had no ice axe or crampons,” witness Mike Claypool told KATU.

“You could just see the horror in his face,” added witness Paul Christian.

Morgan was able to stop his descent when he hit ice on the opposite side of the crevasse.  Rescuers were able to reach him and transport him down the mountain. 

He was taken to a hospital in the late afternoon, KATU reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News radio


Weather Hampers Search for Missing Mt. Rainier Hikers

Purestock/Getty Images(SEATTLE) –- An unprecedented winter storm that is hammering the Pacific Northwest coast with freezing rain and heavy snow has hampered the search for four hikers missing from Washington’s Mount Rainier Park.

Mark Vucich, 37, of San Diego, and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, were supposed to return Sunday from a camping trip on the Muir Snowfield, about 10,000 feet up, but have not been heard from in days. The pair’s car was found in a parking lot about halfway up the mountain, according to Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold.

Mount Rainier is about 70 miles southeast of Seattle, which was battered by snow and ice on Wednesday.  Mount Rainier was hit with snow over the weekend as temperatures continued to hover well below freezing.

A team of 10 Park Service staff set out today to travel the same route Vucich and Trojanowski would have taken, Wold said.

On Tuesday, the team was only able to conduct a limited search after conditions of zero visibility and 100 mph winds hampered their efforts.

Meanwhile, two other climbers, an unidentified couple from Springfield, Ore., also remain missing after failing to return Monday from a summit attempt on the Disappointment Cleaver route.

Park officials believe both pairs of climbers chose to ride out the storm and wait for conditions to clear before returning.  All four are thought to be well-equipped with tents, sleeping bags and other cold weather gear.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Climbers to Rappel Down Washington Monument to Survey Damage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Professional climbers will rappel down all four sides of the Washington Monument Tuesday to get a closer look at any exterior damage caused by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Washington, D.C., in late August.
The project is part of the National Park Service’s ongoing damage assessment. For a thorough survey, said Brandon Latham, a climbing ranger from Denali National Park, Alaska, ropes will be anchored from an access hatch near the top of the monument. Climbers will then crawl out windows at the observation deck, and head upwards to the access hatch to complete a top-to-bottom survey.
While the project sounds like something out of a spy movie, it’s not an uncommon move. The project team handling the survey has rappelled down a 220-foot obelisk in New Jersey, numerous state capitols, and buildings that are about the same height as the 555-foot Washington Monument.
The climbers will be looking for any cracks, as well as small rocks that may have come loose during the earthquake and are still hanging onto the monument’s stone slabs. Such rock fragments, called spalls, have already been removed from inside the Washington Monument, said Jennifer Talken-Spaulding of the National Park Service.
The agency says the monument’s elevator cables, damaged during the earthquake, will be replaced. The elevator was at level zero when the earthquake struck. Once the climbers and surveyors have pored over the exterior of the monument, the National Park Service said it will cover all open joints and cracks to prevent further weather damage. At the moment, said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall, a “substantial amount of water” is getting into the monument because of cracks and damaged joints missing mortar.
The park service did not give a date for when the monument will be open to visitors, adding that they will be in a better position in mid-October to estimate a re-opening date.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio