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June 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Mount Rainier ranger falls to death on rescue mission

Nick Hall, a climbing ranger sent to help rescue four injured hikers, fell 3,700 feet to his death Thursday afternoon, according to a Mount Rainier National Park release.

As Hall, 34, was preparing hikers who slipped down the Emmons Glacier for helicopter evacuation off the mountain at 4:49 p.m., he fell down the mountain’s northeast side from the 13,700-foot level. Hall was not moving after his fall and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. Climbers reached him hours later and confirmed he was deceased.

Hall, a native of Patten, Maine, had been with Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing program for four years.

The group of four hikers from Waco, Texas he was trying to rescue had slipped on their descent down Emmons Glacier after hiking to Mount Rainier’s 14,411-foot summit around 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Two females in the group were dangling inside a crevasse they’d slipped down at the 13,700-foot level of the mountain, but one of the other hikers were able contact rescue rangers by cell phone.

Hikers ranging from 18 to 53 in age were pulled to safety by 3:10 p.m. with non-life-threatening injuries. A rapidly lowering cloud ceiling and 40-mph winds made the weather tough for the Chinook helicopter from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to reach the hikers, but three were eventually lifted away at around 9 p.m., said Kevin Bacher, a spokesman for Mount Rainier National Park.

One more hiker stayed on the mountain overnight with rescue rangers. If weather conditions do not improve by morning, the rangers will carry the hiker down. The others are being treated at Madigan Hospital.

Comments | Topics: Emmons Glacier, hikers, Mount Rainier

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