Skip to main content

Man missing after avalanche on Mount Rainier

By Patty Lane, CNN
Click to play
Climber disappears in avalanche
  • Climber is likely not alive after avalanche, authorities say
  • Identity of missing man unknown because he did not register
  • Searchers rescued 10 people on mountain
  • Avalanche struck early Saturday morning on eastern side of mountain

(CNN) -- Recovery crews hope to resume their search Sunday for a man likely killed in an avalanche while scaling Mount Rainier in Washington.

Searchers stopped looking for the man on Saturday evening due to dangerous avalanche conditions on the 14,410-foot volcano, Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold told CNN.

"They are not treating this as a rescue mission," she said. "It doesn't look good for the person up there, and we're not willing to risk hurting anyone else or putting anyone else in danger to save someone who is most likely not alive anymore."

Wold said 10 of the 11 climbers in the area struck by the avalanche were rescued. Two of them were transported by military helicopter to a nearby hospital with injuries that were not life threatening, she said.

Wold said investigators do not know the buried climber's identity because he did not register to climb.

"We don't know who is family is, so we're not able to contact them and let them know what's happened," she said.

Several people on the mountain spoke to him earlier in the day, she said.

The avalanche occurred around 4:30 a.m. Saturday on the Ingraham Glacier, located on the mountain's east side, Wold said. It started at around the 12,500-feet level, she said, and slid to 11,200 feet. It was at least 3,000 feet wide.

Wold said Mount Rainier is a tough environment, even for experienced climbers.

"It's a training ground for climbing Mount Everest, so it's very difficult and challenging environment," she said.