Body of missing climber located on Mount Rainier near site of 2014 tragedy

Body of missing climber located on Mount Rainier near site of 2014 tragedy
Liberty Ridge at Mt. Rainier.

The body of a climber who was reported missing last week on Liberty Ridge was located Monday,  National Park Service officials said.

Officials with Mount Rainier National Park said Matthew Bunker of Seattle was reported missing 3 p.m. Friday by a member of his climbing party.

Bunker went skiing ahead of his partner near Thumb Rock, at a 10,400 feet elevation, and as they were descending, it is believed he fell in steep terrain, park officials said.

Content Continues Below

North Cascades rangers who were headed back to Mount Rainier from training tried to perform an initial search for Bunker but could not do so due severe down winds around Liberty Ridge. The winds prevented their helicopter from getting close to the terrain, forcing them to return to base.

Later that day, rangers tried another helicopter search for Bunker but were met again with severe downslope winds and increasing clouds, which limited their surveillance.

On Saturday, poor conditions again prevented flights to search for the missing man.

According to park officials, the area where the search is happening for Bunker is near the location of the Liberty Ridge tragedy that resulted in the deaths of six climbers in 2014.

On Monday, better weather conditions allowed crews to continue their search. Bunker’s body was found in a crevasse at the base of a cliff.

Officials said the area is subject to continuous rock and ice fall which pose too high of a risk for rescue crews to access the location and recover his body.

“We extend our deepest condolences to Matthew’s loved ones and friends” stated Tracy Swartout, Deputy Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park. “It brings us a great degree of sorrow to be unable to bring him home to his family.”