Two bodies recovered from Mount Rainier's Paradise Glacier late Friday afternoon are likely members of a group of four climbers that were lost in January, park officials say. The body of a third climber was found nearby in August. Search efforts are continuing today.
Park officials say on Thursday, while conducting routine resupply operations to Camp Muir by helicopter, a body was spotted hanging over the edge of a large crevasse on the Paradise Glacier southeast of Anvil Rock. In addition, camping and climbing gear could be seen strewn across the bottom of the crevasse.
The body was partially buried under about 5 feet of snow and clearly had been in place for some time. The site is about a quarter mile east of the standard climbing route and on the other side of a ridge, at about 8,200-foot elevation.
On Friday, climbing rangers retrieved the body of a woman from the crevasse. A man's body was then recovered from under the snow nearby.
Both individuals were transported by ambulance to the Pierce County Medical Examiner, who will determine their identities and causes of death.
Four climbers were lost in this vicinity during January storms. On August 6, the body of Mark Vucich was found near the climbing route on the Muir Snowfield, about half a mile above Pebble Creek at about 8,000 feet elevation. The bodies recovered Friday are likely members of the same group of climbers.
Rangers will return to the site, both on foot and by helicopter, to further investigate what appears to be a large campsite buried under the snow on the edge of the crevasse, in hopes of finding clues to explain what happened and, ultimately, lead to the fourth missing climber.