Mt. Rainier ranger dies in climbers' rescue

Photo of Nick Hall courtesy of Mount Rainier NPS Flickr

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by KING 5 News

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 12:27 PM

MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. -- A rescue operation turned deadly on Mount Rainier Thursday night when a park ranger fell to his death during an attempt to rescue four climbers on Mount Rainier.

The National Park Service identifies the ranger as 34-year-old Nick Hall from Maine.  A press release said Hall fell from the 13,700 foot level to about 10,000 feet on the mountain's northeast side as he was helping two of the climbers evacuate the mountain by helicopter.

The accident on the mountain happened just before 2 p.m. Thursday.  In all, four climbers were hiking the Emmons Glacier Route when two of them slipped and fell into a crevasse, said Kevin Bacher with Mount Rainier National Park.

One of the hikers had a working cell phone and was able to notify park rangers. Rescue crews on foot located the climbers and managed to lift the two men out of the crevasse. All four climbers were injured, but none of their injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

The Chinook helicopter was able to take the three hikers Ranger Hall was assisting to safety, but inclement weather hampered the rescue operation and rescue personnel are spending the night with the one remaining injured hiker on the mountain.  Rescue operations will be reassessed in the morning.

The four climbers are from Waco, Texas.  Their names will be released once all four families have been notified.

Ranger Nick Hall is a 4 year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park's climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine.  He was unmarried and has no children.

KING 5's Jim Forman and Liza Javier contributed to this report.

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