UPDATE: 6 climbers feared dead on Mt. Rainier after 3,000 foot fall
MT RAINIER — Six climbers are feared dead on Mount Rainier.
Rescuers say there is little they can do to find them because of dangerous conditions.
Four climbers, most of them believed to be from out-of-state, and two local guides took off on a very challenging journey on Mount Rainier on Monday. On Saturday only their equipment was found on the top of the Carbon Glacier at about 9,500 feet high.
Aerial crews spotted climbing and camping equipment littered over a debris field but no bodies.
Rescuers say the climbers fell more than 3,000 feet.
“Basically this search has come to a tragic end, it is not viable that anyone would have survived,” Mt Rainier National Park Ranger Patricia Wold said.
Experienced guides with Alpine Ascents International took off for a 5-day climb of Liberty Ridge.
“It’s one of the most dangerous areas in the park,” Wold said.
It’s covered in snow, ice and jagged rocks, the steepness is up to 50 degrees.
The company’s website says climbers have to carry 50 plus pounds of equipment climbing for up to eight hours a day.
On Wednesday evening, the guides checked in by satellite phone saying they were OK but that “weather was coming in.”
The group expected back Friday was never heard from again.
Employees at Alpine Ascents are reeling from the loss.
“We are all devastated I mean watching climbers take a fall, getting injured, getting killed it is always a reminder of how difficult the sport can be,” Gordon Janow said.
Rescuers picked up avalanche beacon signals from the climbers Saturday afternoon but rangers say the conditions on the ground are too dangerous to send crews in. The extensive search was called off by nightfall.
Rangers were in the process of notifying family members.