Two weeks after a climbing ranger died during a rescue attempt at Mount Rainier National Park, his body was recovered Thursday from the snow-heavy mountain in Washington state.
Nick Hall died on June 21 while helping to load four injured climbers onto a helicopter for a flight off the mountain. The 34-year-old ranger somehow slipped and then tumbled roughly a half-mile down the flanks of the snow-and-ice covered mountain to his death.
On Thursday a team of five Mount Rainier climbing rangers and a search dog team were flown to his location on the Winthrop Glacier at about 11,000 feet on the north side of Mount Rainier.
The operation, including a preliminary reconnaissance flight, went smoothly and was completed in approximately two hours, park officials said in a release.
Air operations were supported by a Chinook helicopter and crew from the 214th Aviation out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and a Hughes 530 from Northwest Helicopters.
Rangers attempted to retrieve Ranger Hall the day of the original incident and again on June 28, but were forced to call off both missions due to high winds, deteriorating weather, and avalanche hazards.
A memorial service honoring Ranger Hall was held last Friday. It was attended by an estimated 450 people, filling both floors of the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise. Many others watched the service via live streaming video at the Paradise Inn and at other locations across the park and country.
Video coverage of the service can be viewed and downloaded at the DVIDS, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.
A family memorial service is being planned for this Friday, July 6 in Patten, Maine. Members of the Mount Rainier National Park staff, along with other National Park Service representatives, will be in attendance.