Recovery Of Climbing Ranger's Body On Mount Rainier On Hold Due To Weather, Avalanche Danger

Poor conditions again prevented rangers Wednesday from recovering the body of climbing ranger Nick Hall, who died last week while assisting with a rescue on Mount Rainier. NPS photo.

While Mount Rainier National Park officials initially had held some hope Wednesday that improving weather conditions would allow for the recovery of the body of a climbing ranger who died while assisting with a rescue, conditions again forced rangers from to put off an attempt.

After a number of days of poor weather conditions and several feet of new snow on the upper elevations of Mount Rainier, Wednesday brought the park its first day of a forecasted 36-hour window of good weather for a recovery effort, officials said. However, high avalanche danger on the mountain resulted in unsafe conditions that precluded efforts to recover Climbing Ranger Nick Hall, they added.

‘We want to recover Nick as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King. “Conditions must be stable before it is safe to put recovery teams on the mountain.”

Efforts Wednesday focused on overflights to assess conditions from the air, evaluation of mountain conditions and snowpack at Camp Schurman (elevation 9,510 feet), and finalizing a plan for a recovery attempt on Thursday if conditions turn out favorable and safe.

Ranger Hall died last Thursday, June 21, after he fell approximately 2,500 feet (revised figure by park officials) down the Emmons Glacier while assisting on an upper mountain rescue.

A memorial service for the ranger will be held on Friday at the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise in Mount Rainier. His family, friends, colleagues and co-workers will be attending. The Visitor Center will be closed to accommodate the service. The park is currently working to offer alternative methods to view the service.

The Hall family has asked that donations in honor of Nick Hall be made in lieu of flowers. Per the family’s request, funds raised will go to assist in expenses related to this tragedy, as well to support search and rescue efforts at Mount Rainier National Park and in Ranger Hall’s home state of Maine

The National Park Foundation announced on Wednesday that it had created a memorial fund for the fallen ranger. Donations can be made at this site.

“The National Park Foundation joins the National Park Service, and the larger parks community, in mourning the loss of Ranger Nick Hall,” said Neil Mulholland, the foundation's president and CEO. “His passing reminds us all of the tremendous risks and sacrifices our National Park Service Rangers take to keep the rest of us safe. We are proud to support and honor the bravery, tradition and excellence of the men and women we call Rangers.”

Donations that support search and rescue in Maine and assist the Hall family with expenses related to the tragedy may also be made through the following accounts:

Nick Hall Memorial Fund

P.O Box 431

Patten, ME 04765

Donations to the fund that supports Mount Rainier National Park’s search and rescue program in honor of Nick Hall may be made to:

MORA Search and Rescue Fund

(checks payable to DOI-NPS)

55210 238th Ave E

Ashford, WA 98304

Cards and condolences may also be sent to the above addresses.

Comments

Nick Hall's private memorial service was held June 27 at the Paradise Visitor Center:

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure/2012/06/30/nick-hall-complete-memorial-service-story/

Here's a link to a photo gallery of the ceremony:

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure/#num=content-6338157&id=album-339627

Rest in peace, sir! Your teammates will bring you home soon.

Have they been able to recover Nick's body yet?

The Sunrise area of the park is closed today while another recovery attempt is made:

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure/2012/07/05/nick-hall-sunrise-road-closed-today-during-recovery-attempt/

A video of Nick's memorial service is now online:

http://www.dvidshub.net/video/148209/memorial-ranger-nick-hall#.T_HnRPGENhs