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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Crews from Mount Rainier find climber’s body along route of missing Spokane man Dawes Eddy

A helicopters flies about a glacier on Mount Rainier.  (courtesy )

A five-member crew on Mount Rainier Tuesday removed the body of a dead man along the route where missing Spokane mountaineer Dawes Eddy had ascended.

The Pierce County medical examiner will identify the climber, said Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold.

Two guides on Mount Rainier first spotted an unresponsive climber inside a crevasse Monday night that’s along the route Eddy planned to ascend. The Rainier Mountaineering Inc. guides reported at 9 p.m. Monday that they saw an individual who was thought to be about 30 to 50 feet down the crevasse at about 11,500 feet, near the Ingraham Direct climbing route, Wold said.

A helicopter was sent to check the crevasse Tuesday morning, followed by the climbing team’s departure from Camp Muir.

Eddy, 80, left on May 30 with plans to follow the Ingraham Direct to the 14,410-foot summit. He was expected back on Wednesday. When he didn’t return Thursday, he was reported missing.

Mount Rainier weather conditions last week were favorable, other than some fog on May 31. This is a busy time of year for climbers to reach the summit, and they come prepared to expect ice and snow.

Eddy is an experienced climber who briefly held the record as the oldest person to summit Mount Everest.

He reported ahead of his recent departure to park rangers that this trip marked his 50th ascent of Mount Rainier.

Eddy had one prior accident that triggered a rescue response on Rainier.

During a 1999 climb, Eddy slipped and tumbled about 1,600 feet down the Gibraltar ice chute while soloing the Gibraltar Ledge route. A four-person climbing team on the same route witnessed that accident. One witness called the National Park Service while another member climbed down to Eddy.

Eddy sustained bone fractures to his lower right leg. The climber helped stabilize Eddy and stayed with him while the other members of his team returned to Camp Muir to retrieve a rescue litter. The park service dispatched a helicopter, and he was airlifted off the mountain. He recounted the fall in an article years later, saying “I didn’t think I would survive.”

In 2009, Eddy gained brief worldwide fame when he became the oldest American to climb Mount Everest. Eddy then was 66 and held the title for two days before a 67-year-old Californian claimed it.

In several articles in The Spokesman-Review, Eddy talked about his enjoyment of exercise and mountain climbing, along with rewriting the physical limitations of growing older.

In 2013, he attempted another climb of Mount Everest at age 70, when he reported feeling as strong and healthy as he did for the prior trip. However, his aerobic capacity never got up to speed, he said. He did reach about 23,700 feet, higher than the tallest peaks on all other continents, when he and his guide decided to turn back.

On a December trip to Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, Eddy went on an early morning hike and didn’t return as expected that day after climbing the San Ysidro Mountain East Peak.

There was a brief search and rescue operation overnight and into early the next morning, but Eddy returned to a campground just after 9 a.m.. He said he was unable to finish that hike on time, so he hunkered down for the night and used his survival skills to stay warm.

Eddy also was the focus of a high-altitude health research project in 2009 featured in The Spokesman-Review to determine the rigors of altitude on aging bodies. A group of scientists, physicians, psychologists and athletic consultants worked with Eddy to test theories about potential muscle mass loss, effect on executive skills and other factors.