3 climbers hospitalized after falling into crevasse at Mount Rainier, 2 with critical injuries

The Seattle TimesSeptember 1, 2013 

Three Canadian climbers fell into a crevasse at Mount Rainier’s Emmons Glacier and were hospitalized Sunday — two with critical injuries, according to a report by KING 5.

The men fell 50 feet in the 3:30a.m. accident and were flown off the mountain by helicopter after being spotted by another climbing party, KING reported, citing a National Park Service spokesperson. The two critically hurt men were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and the third to another hospital.

The circumstances of how the three men fell are not known.

Phone calls to a spokesperson for the National Park Service on Sunday were not returned.

Rain over the weekend as high as 11,000 feet had later frozen, causing icy conditions that led one climbing team, RMI Summit Guides, to terminate its bid for the 14,411-foot summit at the 11,200-foot level, their guides said.

The team members had encountered treacherous conditions and turned back Sunday, making their way across Cowlitz Glacier to safety at Camp Muir and back to the base, they said.

In July, Mount Rainier National Park released a statement that it had re-evaluated its mountain-rescue policy after a climbing ranger, Nick Hall, was killed the year before during a rescue attempt on the Emmons Glacier. While the park said it still had a commitment to rescuing injured climbers, it also said it would no longer put staff at risk during such rescues.

Some 10,000 people attempt to summit Mount Rainier every year, and 52 percent of them accomplish it, according to park information. The Emmons Glacier is one of the most used routes for climbers.

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