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mtn_mouse

Muir snowfield

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Stormy week on rainier continues...

 

Bodies of two climbers spotted on Mount Rainier

 

By The Associated Press

 

 

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Mount Rainier National Park

 

ASHFORD, Pierce County — A helicopter searching for two climbers overdue on Mount Rainier spotted two motionless bodies on the peak last evening, a Mount Rainier National Park ranger said.

 

No more could be done in the darkness, supervisory ranger Mike Gauthier said, but search crews planned to set out at daybreak to try to reach the climbers.

 

Tim Stark, 57, and his nephew Greg Stark, 27, both of Lakewood, Pierce County, had failed to return from a weekend trip to Camp Muir, at the 10,000-foot level of the 14,411-foot peak, Gauthier said. Relatives reported them missing yesterday.

 

The men set out on their trip Saturday but a heavy snowstorm hit the camp over the weekend.

 

Several other climbers were delayed in coming down the mountain but as yesterday progressed, and the Starks failed to return, "we of course became very concerned," Gauthier said.

 

After the helicopter report, "it doesn't seem very optimistic at this point," he said.

 

Gauthier said the men may have been disoriented by the storm.

 

The bodies seen from the helicopter were at about the 8,000-foot level on the Paradise Glacier. There was no sign the men had fallen, but the ranger said, "it's very easy to get lost [there]. You just get blown off course."

 

The bodies fit the description of the Starks.

 

 

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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It's tricky coming down from Camp Muir in a storm. Sometimes it's better to hunker in and wait for a clearing. Looks like they got trapped above a cliff band and tried to retreat. Probably got fatiged, disoriented, no food, etc. Bad scene. I've been up at Camp Muir on my B.D. on July 1st. Got there in 70* weather in shorts and t-shirt. 30 minutes later in starts to snow big , wet ,heavy snow flakes. I asked the RMI cook if I could slip into the shack to put my shells on. If I didn't have extra clothes, I would have been in a world of hurt. Mt. Rainier is unpredictable at any time of year . Come prepared. Be prepared to rretreat. You can always come back another day.

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at his slideshow gator was saying how most people are lost between muir and partway up from paradise. that made it kind of haunting when i heard the report on the news last night. sadness.

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AP-WA--RainierRecovery(T 05-24 0125

AP-WA--Rainier Recovery (Tops)<

Two bodies brought down the mountain<

ASHFORD, Wash. (AP) -- A helicopter has brought down the bodies

of two climbers who died on Mount Rainier.

The national park says they are the first deaths on the mountain

this year.

The bodies were spotted from a helicopter last night at sunset

at about the eight-thousand-foot level on the Paradise Glacier.

Rangers were flown back to the scene today to make the recovery.

Fifty-seven-year-old Tim Stark and his 27-year-old nephew, Greg

Stark, both of Lakewood, left Saturday for a climb to Camp Muir at

ten-thousand feet.

They were hit by a storm with whiteout conditions.

A relative reported them overdue Sunday when they did not return

home.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APTV 05-24-05 1300PDT<

461207-recoverycrew.jpg.37d73d13a1f42e804935adf6124308cc.jpg

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They should put back that old sign re: people dying beyond panorama point. I myself got caught in a whiteout with 2 of my friends on our way down from Muir, we ended waiting it out and able to hike out by 5am. It was the coldest night I've ever spent in the mountain, since then, I always carry esbit stove, synthetic parka in exchange of a cellphone and camera.

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The most recent report says hypothermia may be the cause of death. One guy found with shorts on and the other with cotton clothing. Like they say, "COTTON KILLS". Leave the cotton at home for those comfy nights in your pajamas. Only synthetics , poly, even your grandfathers old polyester socks are better than cotton. Once your cotton clothes get wet "FORGET ABOUT IT". Just say no to cotton.

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Try carrying a map and compass as well as the knowledge to use them. It's one of thoses ten essential thingies that cc.comers ridicule the mountaineers about.

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The map and compass are good as long as you have an altimeter watch to know your altitude. Without knowing your altitude it doesn't do much good to have the GPS or compass. You have to know the precise altitude to make the correct compass changes to stay on course. Better yet go on a sunny day. Stay on the boot path. Bring wands. If the weather turns sour. Turn around immediately, and follow the boot path down. It's happened to me in a foggy condition. You couldn't see one foot ahead of you. We just followed the boot path down.

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You mean, if I get caught in a storm on a 14,000' MOUNTAIN after:

 

1) Abandoning gear capable of and designed for keeping me alive in adverse weather

2) Using gear unsuited for the conditions (COTTON?! SHORTS?!)

3) Continuing to descend despite white-out conditions

4) Getting lost

 

...I might DIE???

 

Here's a story that I'm reminded of.

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before we condemn these poor folks, (not much we're going to spray here is going to make the situation any worse than being dead afterall) lets all remember we've all probably done a few things that could've gotten us killed if conditions or circumstances had changed.

 

i can't believe no one has gone out w/o being underprepared at some point. i've thought on occasion "i hope the weather doesn't turn b/c i didn't bring XXX".

 

i'm not saying these guys didn't screw up and apparently were COMPLETELY unprepared but come on. ... they paid the price. is it really necessary to be so harsh?

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I was on baker this W/E and around 4:00 pm on Saturday, it all started. We just were at the end of the Heliotrope ridge, as the wind started to pick up around 2:15 pm but we thought that it wasn’t that bad so we continued on. Around 3:00 pm, we were leaning toward the wind in order to stay on the west Colman glacier as we making our way toward 7500 feet. The original plan of camping below the saddle was scraped as we found a seemingly refuge at the rocks outcrops in front of Lincoln peak. We dug a site and set up the tent, quick dinner and water melt and we went in to sleep, it was 4:45 pm. the tent was shaking like a piñata in the middle of Mexico City on El Dia de los Muertos. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep as the noise was of a Sherman tank on full throttle. At midnight, I finally gave up and went outside to stake the tent down securely and the noise seems to subside a little. around 4:00 am, I woke up to my partner vigorous kicking of the tent wall and realize that the wind buried us half way up the tent walls, in snow. I asked if we still thinking on summit only to get that “go fuck yourself I am staying here” look out of my partner. We lay in for about an hour and then tunnel our way out the tent and broke camp. We started heading back down around 5:45 am. Going back was as adventure of its own, as we had a visibility of 20 feet. We manage to get on a wand trail leading us back down. By 7:30 am, we were on the bottom of the Heliotrope ridge as the sun was trying to glimpse through the clouds. We crack the beer and had breakfast. I had another fine day on the mountain.

Yeah, the weather was bad allover the cascades high peaks this w/e. I am sorry to hear about this lost, my condolences.

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I was checking out the boards for the latest information on Muir as I hope to take my son to camp muir for his first trip on the mountain. One of the first steps I made was to ensure we had ALL the appropriate clothing, food, and gear necessary to safely wait out a storm. For a great list, check out Gators climbing guide to mount rainier. wave.gif

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I grew up in Lakewood, and when I heard the name I thought of the Mr. Stark I knew from my days in boy scouts. The age was about right, and he had a son in the troop that was a couple of years younger than myself - which made me think that he could very easily have a nephew this age as well. I also recalled that he was a pilot for United.

 

Now that I have learned that one of the deceased was also an airline pilot for United, it's looking an awful lot like this is the same man that I remember. What was really confusing to me, though, was the fact that the two were found without the gear they'd need to survive a night out or a storm, as that was one of the things that all of the adults that took part in activities with the troop really hammered home. Now that I've learned that they apparently had all the gear that they'd need to survive the storm - I'm even more confused.

 

I'm out of time for now, and will add a bit more later, but in the meantime - remember that the family is local, and the odds are fairly high that they will come across what you write here as they are working through their grief.

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here's more info. the pictures a little clearer and very sad. i'm imagining a pretty horrifying series of events.

 

"It appears the men may have attempted to pitch their tent, because it had snow and food inside when rangers removed it from their pack. The men were also wearing headlamps, suggesting it was dark when they put the tent away."

 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002287906_climbers25m.html

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It is a bizarre and unfortunate situation. Hopefully, like other accidents, understanding the circumstances will help someone else react differently and survive. It could have just been a series of mistakes made by people that were going hypothermic. If you've never made a mistake before, I suppose you could be critical.

 

Rest in peace.

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...It could have just been a series of mistakes made by people that were going hypothermic. If you've never made a mistake before, I suppose you could be critical.

 

Rest in peace.

 

I think you nailed it Oly. The KOMO news report says they found warm clothing in their packs - sounds to me that they HAD the appropriate gear, but they just didn't put it on. Late stages of hypothermia does make one feel hot, so it makes sense if they were moving, they probably just chalked it up to working up a sweat.

 

Condolences to the family.

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I have twice had to help members of my party that had succumbed to early stage hypothermia. It is astonishing how rapidly someone can go from fully functioning to useless.

 

In one case, we had been digging a snow cave for quite awhile. After the digging and hauling was over, I finished plugging the entrance and setting up a cooking area, while my soaking wet partner went into the cave to lay out her sleeping bag and change clothes. I went into the cave about 15 - 20 minutes later and found her sitting on her sleeping bag trying to untie her bootlaces to no avail. She was shivering uncontrollably and largely unable to manipulate her digits. She had no sense of time. I had to strip her, pull the sleeping bag around her and, after warming her up for a while (please spare me the bullshit...), help her to drink and eat warm food. It was hours before she was back to normal.

 

This was all under pretty controlled circumstances on relatively benign winter day. I have no difficulty imagining the results of that sort of incident through a howling mountain storm...

 

-t

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I was on baker this W/E and around 4:00 pm on Saturday, it all started. We just were at the end of the Heliotrope ridge, as the wind started to pick up around 2:15 pm but we thought that it wasn’t that bad so we continued on. Around 3:00 pm, we were leaning toward the wind in order to stay on the west Colman glacier as we making our way toward 7500 feet. The original plan of camping below the saddle was scraped as we found a seemingly refuge at the rocks outcrops in front of Lincoln peak. We dug a site and set up the tent, quick dinner and water melt and we went in to sleep, it was 4:45 pm. the tent was shaking like a piñata in the middle of Mexico City on El Dia de los Muertos. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep as the noise was of a Sherman tank on full throttle. At midnight, I finally gave up and went outside to stake the tent down securely and the noise seems to subside a little. around 4:00 am, I woke up to my partner vigorous kicking of the tent wall and realize that the wind buried us half way up the tent walls, in snow. I asked if we still thinking on summit only to get that “go fuck yourself I am staying here” look out of my partner. We lay in for about an hour and then tunnel our way out the tent and broke camp. We started heading back down around 5:45 am. Going back was as adventure of its own, as we had a visibility of 20 feet. We manage to get on a wand trail leading us back down. By 7:30 am, we were on the bottom of the Heliotrope ridge as the sun was trying to glimpse through the clouds. We crack the beer and had breakfast. I had another fine day on the mountain.

Yeah, the weather was bad allover the cascades high peaks this w/e. I am sorry to hear about this lost, my condolences.

I was on Baker this past weekend (Easton glacier). The conditions were definitely horrible. Weather was clear on Saturday, and dense fog on Sunday. I'm glad we put in wands.

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I found myself in an unthreatening whiteout coming down from Muir last fall, and the GPS was ridiculously good for staying on track (I'd had it on for the way up, so I was able just to retrace the tracklog). Apologies to the traditionalists and the hardmen but a properly used GPS is unbeatable in a whiteout. (Of course, pants are good to have too.)

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Yup. The Muir snowfield is a pretty spooky place to get lost on. I got hypothermic once and my friend told me it took me 20-30 seconds to answer simple yes/no questions. Bummer of a way to kick off the climbing season up there frown.gif

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I have been in a whiteout on Muir and agree that this can happen very easily. I also have been up there in the middle of winter on skis and it was as much fun as I have ever had. The problem is you just cant tell. It is a great place for a GPS if you made atrack on the way up AND are walking AND check it every so often. On skis you can get off vey fast. There is no real shelter until you are at pan point and tents schred fast in a storm if you do not dig in. Just my opinion.

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In '89' I was descending from Camp Muir on New Years weekend. We lost our way in a whiteout and were descending toward the Nisqually by mistake. Knowing we were off coarse and late, we dug a shallow snow cave and spent the night. Fortunately the low visibility was really the only adverse condition besides it being fauking cold out. A reconoiter in the morning put us back on coarse. We were some of the lucky ones.

 

In May '99' I was involved in a search for John Repka who Became separated from his party while descending from Camp Muir on a one day outing. When his body was finally located months later (Sept.), it was at the 8100 ft level on the Paradise Glacier. It is very easy to get lost in low visibility while descending from Muir especially at around 8,000 ft where the line of descent shifts to a different compass bearing.

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Hiking snow always scares me more than skiing. Maybe it is because I am used to it. As a kid, I went to Muir dozens of times a year. Many times there were very bad whiteouts, high winds, and lots of snow and we would be the only ones at Muir. It became a challenge of ours; us against the mountain. Once I forgot my ski boots. I hiked instead and found myself lost. My point is, even on something as mundane as Muir, it can leave you in a precarious position by simply not taking it as serious as it could be. Hypothermia sets in fast, as mentioned. They could have laid down for a quick nap after hiking in the fog for hours. I've nearly done it myself. The other week I was biking at 5500-ft, 13 miles from my car in a tee shirt and bike pants. After my tire blew and I spent several minutes between the snow patches, and deluges of rain, I began to think of the consequences of a wreck.

 

I'm sorry to see Rainier take more lives.

Edited by AllYouCanEat

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