A 52-year-old Seattle man has been killed in a climbing accident at Mount Rainier National Park, according to park officials.
Lee F. Adams was descending the Emmons Glacier from Mount Rainier's summit on Tuesday as part of a four-man team when the last person on the rope caught a crampon in the snow, tripped and fell, park officials announced Wednesday. The party was swept off its feet and, after unsuccessful attempts to self-arrest over a course of about 100 feet, the climbers plunged into a 35-foot deep crevasse at 13,000 feet, a release said.
The first two climbers into the crevasse landed on a false floor and sustained minor injuries. The final two fell farther, according to park officials. One sustained knee injuries and Mr. Adams, the last person into the crevasse, died in the fall, they said.
The three surviving climbers scrambled out of the crevasse and made their way back to Camp Schurman, the high camp at 9,450 feet, arriving at 3:00 p.m. They spent the night there in the company of National Park Service climbing rangers.
On Wednesday, climbing rangers were dropped off by helicopter on the Wintrhop Saddles and made their way to the accident site at 13,000 feet. They retrieved Mr. Adams’ body from the crevasse and it was airlifted off of the mountain by helicopter, park officials said. Two of the surviving climbers were able to hike out on their own and the third was flown off of the mountain, they added. Although too sore to hike out, he did not require medical treatment.
“It is tragic that a simple misstep had such severe consequences for this team. Our sympathy goes out to Adams’ family and friends,” said park spokeswoman Lee Taylor.