Rangers on Tuesday recovered three bodies from a debris field on Carbon Glacier in Mount Rainier National Park where six climbers went missing in May.
The bodies are believed to be some of the climbers who disappeared while on the Liberty Ridge route, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said Wednesday. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office will release identities after performing autopsies.
The bodies were spotted Aug. 7 during a helicopter flyover as part of a training exercise. Enough ice and snow melted to expose the bodies and rangers devised a plan to retrieve them without risking their lives.
That section on Carbon Glacier sees a lot of rock and ice fall from Willis Wall and an expanding crevasse below the glacier, making it one of the most hazardous areas of the park.
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Eight rangers helped recover the bodies using a remote-controlled device mounted on a 100-foot-long line lowered from a helicopter.
Wold said bodies of the other three climbers were not seen during the recovery.
The four climbers and two guides from Alpine Ascents International are believed to have fallen 3,300 feet during their climb of Liberty Ridge.
It’s unknown whether an avalanche or rock fall caused the accident, the second-deadliest in park history.
The missing team was comprised of guides Matt Hegeman, 38, and Eitan Green, 28, and climbers Mark Mahaney, 26, of St. Paul, Minnesota; John Mullally, 40, of Seattle; Uday Marty, 40, of Singapore; and Erik Kolb, 34, of Brooklyn, New York.