Rangers Rescue Skier Lost in Olympic National Park
After a night in the cold a skier who became lost in a blizzard in Olympic National Park was rescued Sunday afternoon by rangers who slogged through 3-4 feet of snow along Hurricane Ridge to reach him.
Park officials say 53-year-old Randy Kraxberger, of Port Townsend, Washington, was cold and hungry but otherwise in good condition when rangers reached him.
Mr. Kraxberger spent last night in a snow cave on the slopes of Hurricane Hill after becoming disoriented in blizzard conditions while skiing Saturday. Despite his unplanned overnight stay, he was in good condition and after some food planned to ski back to Hurricane Ridge with his rescuers.
When rangers last spoke with Mr. Kraxberger by cellphone Sunday morning he was able to provide additional details about his surroundings. Rangers gave him instructions to make a large “X” in the snow using his skis and tree branches in order to make his location more obvious to ground searchers or a possible rescue helicopter.
In addition to six rescuers on skis, a Coast Guard helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles had joined the search after weather and visibility briefly improved.
Rescuers searched last night until about midnight, primarily along the Hurricane Hill Road, using whistles, lights and sirens in attempt to attract Mr. Kraxberger. Two rescuers tried to ski beyond the road’s end onto the Hurricane Hill Route, but were turned back due to blizzard conditions and hazardous avalanche conditions on the slopes.
Avalanche danger was rated as high Sunday. Several slides had crossed the Hurricane Ridge Road and had been observed elsewhere in the area as well.