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Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1 dead, 2 stranded on Mount Rainier

June 11, 2008

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— A man on a Mount Rainier day hike died Tuesday and his wife and another hiker were awaiting rescue after the group got caught in a blizzard, officials at the national park said.

The three spent Monday night and early Tuesday trapped on the Muir snowfield before one of the hikers reached Camp Muir, a staging area for climbers high on the volcano's flank. From there, he directed rescuers to the other hikers, one of whom died at the camp.

Two helicopters were standing by to bring the hikers off the mountain, but the weather did not improve enough to attempt an evacuation by Tuesday evening. The attempt was put off at least until this morning, park spokesman Kevin Bacher said. Camp Muir is at about 10,000 feet elevation on the 14,410-foot mountain.

Three doctors, clients of a climbing concessionaire in the park, were at Camp Muir with the two surviving hikers, who were suffering from frostbite and hypothermia but were in stable condition, Bacher said.

"Right now, the best place for them to be is sheltered at Camp Muir, rather than taking the chance of exposing them to try to carry them down the mountain," Kinzer said. "Since they are safe and stable where they are, we'll wait until we get a weather window to get them off the mountain."

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