rainier AP 980 missing climbers
Six climbers and two guides were presumed dead after falling on one of Mount Rainier's most technical and physically grueling routes. (AP Photo)

Climbers' bodies spotted on Mount Rainier; others never found

What appears to be the bodies of three people have been spotted on Mount Rainier, where six climbers disappeared in May.

Park spokeswoman Patti Wold says the bodies were seen last week by a helicopter on a training flight above the Carbon Glacier. Rangers are now trying to determine the best way to recover the climbers.

"We can't send anybody in there physically because of the danger due to rocks and ice falling at this specific spot right at the base of a crumbling cliff," Wold says.

The two guides and six climbers were presumed dead after falling over 3,000 feet on one of Mount Rainier's most technical and physically grueling routes.

While helicopters detected pings from avalanche beacons and spotted climbing gear thousands of feet below the group's last known location, the search was ultimately called off because of the dangers to rescuers.

Recovering the bodies of victims has been a challenge rangers have faced a number of times over the years. The mountain's size and dangers make it impossible to maintain ongoing searches. In some cases, victims are never found

"We do everything we can. We put our biggest effort into as soon as we get a report someone is missing or there's been an accident," Wold says. "We hope that someone will come upon the remains, but we can't continue searching for everybody after so many years."

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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