Climbing ranger killed on Mount Rainier



MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. - A climbing Ranger was killed during a rescue attempt on Mount Rainier at the Emmons Glacier Thursday afternoon. Mount Rainier National Park officials say Ranger Nick Hall, 34, fell from 13,700 ft. to about 10,000 ft. on the mountain’s northeast side as he was helping to prepare other climbers for a helicopter rescue.


Ranger Hall responded to Emmons Glacier around 1:45 p.m. Thursday to help a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, returning from a successful summit attempt on Mount Rainier. Two of the climbers slid into a crevasse. A third climber was able to use a cell phone to call for help.


According to a press release, as the first set of climbers was rescued by helicopter, Ranger Hall slid more than 3,000 feet down the side of the mountain. He did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving.


Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord lifted two climbers to safety. The other two members of the party spent the night on the mountain with climbing rangers. All four suffered non-life threatening injuries.


Climbers reached Ranger Hall several hours after the incident began and found him to be deceased. 


Nick Hall is a 4-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine. He was unmarried and has no children.


Worsening visibility and 40 mph winds kept rescuers from removing all four climbers late Thursday.


Rescue and recovery efforts will resume Friday morning.


Storms on Mount Rainier are notoriously fierce and obstinate.


About 10,000 people attempt to summit the massive volcano each year, with most doing so in the summer.


The Texas climbers were roped together when they fell on Emmons Glacier on Thursday. The two women at the end of the rope ended up in a crevasse. Rangers who responded to a cellphone call helped them out.


Hall is originally from Patten, Maine, the park spokesman said. He had been with Mount Rainier National Park's climbing program for four years.


His death comes during what has proved to be a difficult year for park staff.


On New Year's Day, ranger Margaret Anderson was fatally shot as she tried to stop a man who drove through a tire chain checkpoint near Longmire. The 24-year-old man, Benjamin Colton Barnes, was suspected in a shooting early New Year's Day in Seattle, and his body was found the next day about a mile away in the snow.


In mid-January, an elite mountain rescue team went up the mountain but failed to find two campers and two climbers who failed to return during a storm and have not been found.