MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. – Rescue crews on Mount Rainier discovered a body Monday matching the description of a snowshoer who vanished in a severe storm over the weekend.
The body had been turned over to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office for identification, national park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.
The 37-year-old Puyallup man intended to spend Saturday night at Camp Muir, a stone shelter nearly 10,200 feet up the 14,410-foot volcano.
It wasn’t clear if he knew the forecast called for a bad storm, but the formidable conditions forced him to turn back.
Two other people took him into their tent and snow cave at Panorama Point, at 6,800 feet, but the three of them abandoned the camp when one of the walls collapsed. They descended together toward the visitor center at Paradise, about 1,400 vertical feet below, but the man became separated from the others.
They found him again twice but lost him for good near Edith Creek, which begins close to Panorama Point and flows toward Paradise.
“They don’t know if he intentionally peeled off or what,” Wold said. “He just wasn’t there.”
The pair reported the man missing the next day.
Rescuers with the volunteer Nordic Ski Patrol helped conduct a hasty search Sunday, and Monday’s operations included a ground and air search by park climbing rangers, mountain rescue volunteers and the U.S. Army Reserve 214th Air Division.
About 20 inches of snow fell during the storm, leaving more than 5 feet on the ground and high avalanche danger near Paradise.
The missing man was not an experienced snowshoer, Wold said.
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