3 climbers recovering after fall on Rainier

Staff writerSeptember 4, 2013 

As three Canadian climbers continued to recover Tuesday two days after falling into a crevasse on Mount Rainier, park officials declared their first short-haul rescue mission a success.

Two of the climbers were listed as improving but still in intensive care Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center, according to The Seattle Times. The third climber, taken to a different hospital, had less significant injuries and his status wasn’t available.

The climbers fell about 30 feet into a crevasse at 11,200-feet above sea level on the Emmons Glacier on Sunday. After another climbing party reported the fall, the park launched its first short-haul rescue mission.

In short-haul missions, rescuers and injured climbers are flown in and out of remote accident sites while secured to a helicopter via a rope and harness. The technique is designed to minimize the number of rescuers exposed to hazards and allow direct communication between pilot and rescuers.

Other national parks have used the method for 20 years. Mount Rainier officials decided to add it to its repertoire of rescue techniques after climbing ranger Nick Hall died last year during a helicopter rescue on the Emmons Glacier.

Park officials estimate 36 people were involved in Sunday’s rescue.

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