SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

June 3, 2014

Some who die on Mount Rainier never recovered

SEATTLE — It may be weeks or months — if ever — before rescuers can get on the ground to search for six climbers who likely plummeted to their deaths high on snow-capped Mount Rainier in Washington state.

Park rangers and rescuers often are able to retrieve bodies within days of an accident, but sometimes it takes weeks or months, when conditions have improved and snow has melted on parts of the mountain.

Occasionally victims are never found, as in the case of 11 people swept to their deaths in an ice fall in 1981 in Mount Rainier’s deadliest accident. The same is true of a non-alpine accident in which a cargo transport plane crashed into the mountain in 1946 — the bodies of 32 Marines remain entombed.

“The mountain is so inaccessible and can be inhospitable. We can’t always retrieve everybody who is lost there, unfortunately,” said Patti Wold, a spokeswoman with Mount Rainier National Park.

The bodies of the two guides and four climbers who fell to their deaths last week on the 14,410-foot glaciated peak may never be recovered because of the hazardous terrain, authorities say.

“The degree of risk in that area, due to the rock fall and ice fall that’s continuously coming down from that cliff onto the area where the fall ended, we cannot put anybody on the ground,” Wold said.

It’s unclear whether the climbers were moving or camping at the time of the accident, Wold said this past weekend. Searchers located camping and climbing gear and detected signals from avalanche beacons buried in the snow at the top of the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet in elevation.

It’s also not known what caused the climbers to fall from their last known whereabouts at 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge, whether it was rock fall or an avalanche. They were last heard from at 6 p.m. Wednesday when the guides checked in with their Seattle-based company, Alpine Ascents International, by satellite phone. The group failed to return Friday as planned.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories

  • Mary Manning Recovering Salem principal says thanks

    SALEM -- Just about a month before she was set to retire after 25 years as the principal of Collins Middle School, Mary Manning entered the hospital with a life-threatening condition. She hasn't been home since. A month later, in June, friends and co

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Former school janitor Robert Scribner sentenced for assaults in truck

    SALEM -- A now-former Marblehead school janitor was ordered to serve a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend after trapping her in his pickup truck in May. Robert Scr

    July 31, 2014