A massive search operation is underway for locating six climbers who were ascending Mount Rainier earlier this week and have gone missing, reports KOMO News. The climbers had commenced their ascend on Monday, and were supposed to have completed the climb on Friday – with plans of reaching the peak on Thursday. However, they have not been heard from since Wednesday evening.
Park rangers from Mount Rainier National Park are focusing the search on the northwest shoulder of the mountain known as the Liberty Ridge. This was the area from where the group had last communicated from, on Wednesday at 6 pm, when they had reported that they were at the 12,800 feet level. The group of six people included two skilled climbing guides from Alpine Ascents International and their four clients, according to Yahoo News. Helicopters have also been pressed in to the search operations. With no information being received about the six individuals until Saturday, Alpine International formally declared the party missing at around 4:30 pm on Friday.
The area has not been facing bad weather – although there were reports of intermittent snow and hail on Wednesday. However, ever since, it has been all clear. The search party did recover some abandoned climbing equipment on Mount Rainier, although it is still unclear if those belong to the missing party.
Meanwhile, Alpine Ascents’ have chosen not to reveal the identities of the six people that have gone missing. This was confirmed by Gordon Janow, director of programs at the company.
“Let’s hope they’re found and that it goes well,” he said.
Meanwhile, The US National Park Service had confirmed that they have a group of three climbers heading towards Mount Rainier who wold also be helping to locate the missing party. A US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook helicopter operating out of Joint Base Lewis McChord is also providing support in trying to locate the missing Mount Rainier climbers.
Mount Rainier, a 14,411 foot (4,392 m) mountain, is considered to be among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. An estimated 10,000 people attempt to climb the mountain each year with only about half of them actually making it there. The Liberty Ridge area of Mount Rainier is also considered to be among the most technical routes on the way up.
Let us all hope that all six Mount Rainier climbers are safe and sound and would be found soon.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]