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Climbers stranded on Rainier

Original Post
Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

Fingers crossed these guys can reach the gear dropped to them and hunker in for a long weekend or descend, or a window opens for another rescue attempt.

NPS Report

brian burke · · santa monica, ca · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 140

forecast looks pretty grim for tomorrow with 60cms of new up high.  hopefully they can get those dudes out of there before the storm arrives.  

Paul L · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 205

Immediately after posting this saw an insta post from someone close to one of the climbers that they have been rescued and are off the mountain on the way to the hospital.

Amazing work by SAR given the reported conditions.

[Edit] ​Updated Report​​​

Ben Gleason · · Durango, CO · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 61

If they didn't get them off today that whole team might have died. Super, super fortunate.

I hope some more details come out. They left the TH Friday, and were still on route Monday morning when they called in the rescue. Something had to have gone wrong before Monday for them to have been moving so slow.

Jason Schmidt · · Cache Me Ousside · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 15

They were all rescued today. 

Abandoned User · · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 9,705

They were rescued today, all of them.

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188
Ben Gleason wrote: I hope some more details come out. They left the TH Friday, and were still on route Monday morning when they called in the rescue. Something had to have gone wrong before Monday for them to have been moving so slow.

Not necessarily, they were all coming from sea level so they might have driven up from Portland Friday morning and hiked as far St. Elmos Pass for the night, then camped next to the Carbon Glacier the next day so to acclimate bit. Or they may have spent an extra night at Thumb Rock.

Nick Votto · · CO, CT, IT · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Glad these guys are OK, sounds like a major rescue effort.  Great job by SAR......Anyone venture to guess the type of bill they'll get hit with?  If any?  

Turner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 311
Allen Sanderson wrote:

Not necessarily, they were all coming from sea level so they might have driven up from Portland Friday morning and hiked as far St. Elmos Pass for the night, then camped on the Carbon River the next day so to acclimate bit. Or they may have spent an extra night at Thumb Rock.

They went White River to Curtis Friday, and then planned to go Curtis to Summit Saturday. Spoke with them in person.

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188
Turner wrote:

They went White River to Curtis Friday, and then planned to go Curtis to Summit Saturday. Spoke with them in person.

Well in that case, they greatly under estimated their abilities ...

Meredith E. · · Bainbridge Island, WA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Nick Votto wrote: Glad these guys are OK, sounds like a major rescue effort.  Great job by SAR......Anyone venture to guess the type of bill they'll get hit with?  If any?  

Probably none.  The park service uses the climbing fees everyone pays to fund help their SAR program (among other things).  And when the Chinooks get called in the pilots are usually happy because it counts towards their usual needed flight hours.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

they are very, very fortunate.  the temps are pretty cold up there, a lot of wind, probably low on food. not fun.

Dylan Colon · · Geneva, CH · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 396
Allen Sanderson wrote:

Well in that case, they greatly under estimated their abilities ...

I have to wonder if that will eventually become standard beta if people decide Thumb Rock is too risky to spend extended time at. I spoke with a couple of climbers near St. Elmo Pass on Monday who had apparently done this, starting from Curtis at 11:00PM and summitting at about 1:00PM the next day. The crappy part was that they were on their way back to Curtis to retrieve their overnight gear which they'd left for a fast and light assault on the ridge. Annoying but worth it? That said I could easily imagine climbing that far that fast causing big issues with the altitude up high in a place that's hard to retreat from, I'd personally be pretty nervous.


Anyway, I'm glad to hear that the climbers are down safely. Tomorrow's forecast would be considered a bad day to be up there by winter standards, much less June.
Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 313
Dylan Colon wrote:

I spoke with a couple of climbers near St. Elmo Pass on Monday who had apparently done this, starting from Curtis at 11:00PM and summitting at about 1:00PM the next day. The crappy part was that they were on their way back to Curtis to retrieve their overnight gear which they'd left for a fast and light assault on the ridge

That's... creative.   


Abandoned User · · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 9,705


I wonder where those guys were positioned when the rocks hit their tent? We setup in a flat spot to the right of the rock per this picture.  
Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188
Dylan Colon wrote:

I have to wonder if that will eventually become standard beta if people decide Thumb Rock is too risky to spend extended time at. I spoke with a couple of climbers near St. Elmo Pass on Monday who had apparently done this, starting from Curtis at 11:00PM and summitting at about 1:00PM the next day. The crappy part was that they were on their way back to Curtis to retrieve their overnight gear which they'd left for a fast and light assault on the ridge. Annoying but worth it? That said I could easily imagine climbing that far that fast causing big issues with the altitude up high in a place that's hard to retreat from, I'd personally be pretty nervous.

Thumb Rock has always been like it is. One needs to pitch their tent accordingly. Which might mean having to chop a platform to be away from any potential rock fall.

If the climbers you met were near St. Elmos Pass and on their way back over to the Curtis Ridge/Carbon Glacier to get their gear they were doing things backasswards. They should have just carried their crap up and over. Overnight bivy gear would not have been more than 5 lbs or so. But even then from Camp Sherman it is easy to descend the Whintrop curving around west and coming into the western spur of Curtis Ridge never coming close to St. Elmos. I have done that descent twice when we approached north side routes from Carbon River.
Abandoned User · · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 9,705

These are from Google Earth at thumb rock.  We camped around the green circle, which seemed to be relatively out of any fall line but my memory isn't the best.  I remember seeing photos of people camping in other areas near there as well, maybe more to climbers right?


Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 313

It will be interested to see the details about the first (rockfall) incident, if they are ever released.  I wonder if the rocks came off Thumb itself, or if they came off the rock band above Thumb?  We also camped on the climbers left of the ridge proper, and I felt reasonably safe from overhead hazard from Thumb rock, but we saw a few small pieces come off the band above and roll pretty much directly towards camp.  I could see something come off that upper band and end up in some of the camp spots...

Cor · · Leadville/Boulder · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,445
Kyle Tarry wrote: It will be interested to see the details about the first (rockfall) incident, if they are ever released.  I wonder if the rocks came off Thumb itself, or if they came off the rock band above Thumb?  We also camped on the climbers left of the ridge proper, and I felt reasonably safe from overhead hazard from Thumb rock, but we saw a few small pieces come off the band above and roll pretty much directly towards camp.  I could see something come off that upper band and end up in some of the camp spots...

The rocks came from the band above the thumb.

This is information provided by one of the people there during the event.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
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