Mazama Ridge, Mount Rainier - Assist Given to Lost Snowshoers

From our snow camp, a student reported seeing two people signaling for help. We could hear them shouting that they were lost. We responded.
David Shema David Shema
Safety Committee Member
April 07, 2017

Mazama Ridge, Mount Rainier - 9 April

Leader Incident Report


We were camped on a small ridge above a large snowfield north of Mazama Ridge. At around 5:45 a student reported seeing two people signaling for help from the snowfield below. We could hear them shouting that they were lost.

Myself, another instructor, and a student went down to the couple. They were in high emotional distress, describing having walked for many hours and being unable to find Paradise. They were fearful of spending the night outside and were not equipped to do so.

I estimated the walk to the bare and dry road leading to Paradise was 45 minutes away. I impulsively agreed to walk the couple to the road. I sent the other instructor and student back to camp to get their snowshoes to accompany us. The couple begged not to be left alone until they got to the road. We agreed, and took them there.

They were deeply appreciative and thankful, which felt good. We returned to our camp 90 minutes later as the sun was setting.


I could have performed the rescue better by having the instructor and student return to retrieve more than snowshoes. I should have had them get full packs with 10 essentials. If anything had happened to us, we would have become the victims!

I should have done better because the excellent Olympia Branch MOFA training covers how to plan a rescue in detail. In the excitement I didn't follow the training. Nothing bad happened, but my response could (and should) have been in alignment with MOFA steps 6 and 7.


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