By Manuel Valdes Associated Press
SEATTLE — Whiteout conditions on Mount Rainier National Park prevented rangers on Saturday from recovering the body of a colleague who died while rescuing four injured climbers near the mountain’s peak.
Crews were hoping for a break in the weather but conditions got worse as the day progressed, said park spokeswoman Brandi Stewart. Crews said the forecast looked better for recovery on Sunday.
A team of four rangers who had begun climbing to the spot where Nick Hall slid 2,600 feet to his death turned back to Camp Schurman. The campsite is at the 9,500-foot level.
The rangers were going to assist with a planned recovery from a helicopter, which remained on standby until the weather allows flying conditions.
Hall died Thursday after helping four climbers from Texas who fell near the 14,411-foot mountain’s peak.
The climbers had reached the summit and were on their way down, roped together, when two women fell into a crevasse on Emmons Glacier at the 13,700-foot level.
Two men were able to stop the group, and one called for help by cellphone.
Hall had helped put three climbers into the helicopter when he fell. The final climber, Stacy Wren, descended the mountain with rangers Friday.
Park spokeswoman Patti Wold identified the other climbers as Stuart Smith, Noelle Smith and Ross Vandyke.