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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Searchers Find Missing Mount Rainier Snowboarders

Other NPs, Mount Rainier, snowboarders

Searchers Find Missing Mount Rainier Snowboarders

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Two snowboarders missing since Sunday above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park were finally located Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, by searchers, and extraction plans are underway.

"We are relieved to have found Derek (Tyndall) and Thomas (Dale)! The health and safety of not only our two lost subjects, but all of our searchers had been and will continue to be our greatest concern today considering the high avalanche danger and the deep and laborious snow conditions," said Stefan Lofgren, the Incident Commander on the search.

mount_rainier_2Derek and Thomas were found by one of the search groups in the Upper Stevens Creek drainage. Park rangers said Tyndall and Dale were being rewarmed, and an appropriate way to extricate them was being determined.

Tyndall, 21, and Dale, 20, became lost in white-out winter snow conditions while descending from Camp Muir.

The two snowboarders called 9-1-1 at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, to report that they had become lost in a winter storm. They said they had winter gear, smart phones, and a compass, but no overnight gear.

The two checked in by cell phone Monday morning and reported that they had made a snow cave for the night and were cold but in good condition. The weather overnight was severe, with high winds and 20 inches of fresh snow at Paradise.

Based on landmarks the two were able to describe in the fog, and information from their cell phone before the battery died, searchers focused on an area around McClure Rock at about 7,500 feet elevation.

By late Monday afternoon, searchers had a visual of what they believed were the missing snowboarders. Because of difficult terrain and low visibility, they were not able to make contact with these individuals before nightfall, rangers said.

On Tuesday morning, the park deployed a stronger search response over a greater area of the park, with volunteers from Tacoma, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue Teams; as well as four dog teams from the Washington Search and Rescue Task Force.

At approximately 11 a.m. searchers reached the two men. Searchers utilized a combination of snowshoes and skis in the difficult conditions they found on the Mountain.

A total of 28 people participated in the search, including 18 members of Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue and two search dogs from Kitsap County. A contract helicopter was on standby but the weather never cooperated enough for it to reach the search location.

Rangers cautioned snowboarders, skiers and hikers to be aware of Mount Rainier's conditions. It is a dynamic and extreme environment that become hazardous if you are not prepared, rangers said.

When planning a trip to Mount Rainier's backcountry in the winter, visitors should consider these important tips:

- Before you leave home check and heed local weather forecasts, realizing weather can change for the worse in a very short period of time.
- Know your experience and ability to survive in an alpine environment and don't exceed.
- Always carry survival gear with you, including the 10 essentials. Bring extra clothing and food in case you have to spend the night out.
- Always leave word with someone on the specifics of where you're going and when you expect to be home. It is always safest to not travel alone.
- While electronic locators and communication can be helpful, they cannot be always relied upon while in the Mount Rainier backcountry. - Remember you need to be responsible for your own safety.

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers.

For more information, visit the Web site at
www.nps.gov/mora .

 
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