Three Auburn firefighters hiked to Camp Muir on June 3 in honor of a firefighter who died on Liberty Ridge 10 years ago.
At Camp Muir, high above the clouds, the men unfurled a banner that usually hangs in Valley Regional Fire Authority Station 31. The banner is emblazoned with a quote that was regularly used by Capt. Jon Cahill: “Train like you fight … Fight like you train.”
Cahill, who lived in Orting, died June 3, 2004, when he slipped and fell on Liberty Ridge. He was one of four men who died on that route that spring.
Last week, six men died on Liberty Ridge in the second worst mountaineering accident in Mount Rainier National Park history. In total, 26 climbers have died on Liberty Ridge.
Firefighters Jeremy Nylund, Neil Pedersen and Ryan Shervanick have a passion for mountaineering and thought a trip to Muir was a fitting way to honor Cahill, according to a statement released by the Valley Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1352.
“He (Cahill) was revered and respected for his enthusiasm for training,” the statement read. “Jon may have left us 10 years ago but his spirit is alive and well here at the fire houses of the Valley Regional Fire Authority.”
Cahill is survived by his wife, Debbie, and his children, Michael, Matthew, Katie and Kelly.
Guide services say weather and conditions are excellent for climbing Mount Rainier’s Liberty Ridge, but they’re cancelling planned trips anyway.
Alpine Ascents International, who had two guides and four clients died on the route last week, cancelled a trip for late June. Ashford-based International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Inc. also cancelled Liberty Ridge expeditions.
All three had one trip planned for June. The route typically becomes unclimbable in late June or early July.
“We felt it was too soon on the heels of this unfortunate event … and out of respect for the climbers, guides and families,” said Peter Whittaker of RMI.
Eric Simonson of IMG had a group scheduled to climb the route starting June 8. They’ve also cancelled and will climb the Fuhrer Finger route instead.
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