Editorial: Behind the happy smiles on Mount Rainier
Two snowboarders stranded by a blizzard are found alive after two nights on Mount Rainier. Dedicated volunteers rallied to rescue them.
Seattle Times Editorial
Outdoor recreation on Mount Rainier is grounded in a stark reality that is not governed by the seasons. Conditions change very quickly. Trouble comes fast.
No argument from two snowboarders stranded on the side of the mountain for two nights this week by a blizzard that dumped chest-deep snow.
Derek Tyndall and Thomas Dale are alive because of the selfless, dedicated efforts of dozens of volunteers who performed in the anonymous role of rescuers.
Kevin Bacher of Mount Rainier National Park puts the total rescuer count at 41 on Monday and 75 on Tuesday. Those numbers include 28 in the field searching on Monday, and 30 on Tuesday. The rest were providing support services.
The snowboarders had a cellphone that helped rescuers narrow the search. The missing pair dug a snow cave to get out of the weather and had the wisdom to stay put. Early attempts to find them got close, but rescuers were slowed by the heavy snowfall and turned back by darkness.
Search-and-rescue efforts resumed on Tuesday with the efforts of National Park Service employees bolstered by volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Everett Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Bellingham Mountain Rescue and German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department also sent help.
Another volunteer group donating its time, talent and resources was The Soup Ladies, which provides meals to emergency crews.
Whether out in the elements or providing support services, an extraordinary collection of groups turned out to help save two lives.
Bacher reminds anyone venturing outdoors — even on day hikes — to have a backup plan. That includes paying attention to weather forecasts and carrying a map, extra food, dry clothes and an emergency thermal blanket.