Search for Presumed-Dead Climbers May Not Start for Months

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SEATTLE (AP) - It may be weeks or months - if ever - before rescuers can get on the ground to search for six climbers who likely plummeted to their deaths high on snow-capped Mount Rainier in Washington state.

The bodies of the six climbers who fell to their deaths last week on the 14,410-foot glaciated peak may never be recovered, authorities say, because of the hazardous terrain.

Alpine Ascents International, the climbing company leading the excursion, identified the two guides on their website as Matthew Hegeman and Eitan Green.

The Seattle Times reported that Seattle mountain climber John Mullally was one of the six who died. His wife, Holly Mullally, issued a statement Monday saying that she had previously been on climbs organized by the company and had also climbed with Hegeman.


MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - An official at Mount Rainier National Park says there are no plans Sunday to recover the bodies of six climbers who likely fell thousands of feet to their deaths.

According to KTVU-TV, a Truckee man who worked as a climbing guide for a Seattle company has been identified as one of the six people.

Matt Hegeman of Truckee worked as a guide for Seattle's Alpine Ascents International.

Spokeswoman Patti Wold said continuous ice fall and rock fall make the area too dangerous for rescuers. She says the area will be checked periodically by air in coming weeks and months.

She says that "there's no certainty that recovery is possible given the location."

Park officials believe the group fell 3,300 feet from their last known whereabouts of 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge. Air and ground searches were suspended late Saturday afternoon.

A helicopter crew on Saturday spotted camping and climbing gear in the avalanche-prone area.

The missing group includes four clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International and two guides.