The Rainier Liberty Ridge Tragedy

Our hearts go out to the families of those lost in the recent Rainier tragedy. Read some brief thoughts from us and find links to our most highly regarded news items on the subject.
Kristina Ciari Tursi Kristina Ciari Tursi
June 05, 2014
The Rainier Liberty Ridge Tragedy
Photo by Del Young

Earlier this year I lost a friend to the mountains. He was skiing deep powder, fell into a tree well, and never came out. 

I was skiing on Inter Glacier after camping overnight at Silver Springs near Crystal Mountain when I heard about the accident on Liberty Ridge. I had been out of cell service for 24-hours and didn't even know about the climbers until I overheard another skier mention it. Suddenly I was thrust back to three-months ago dealing with the loss of my friend, feeling like the mountains had once-again betrayed me. I felt overwhelmed just being on the same mountain as those climbers.

When I got home I tore through all of the articles I could find on the accident, trying to figure out just what had happened -  to make sense of it all. I shared some of the better stories with The Mountaineers through our Facebook and Twitter pages, and was relieved to see such respectful discourse from our members.  

Alpine Ascents, a local guide service who already lost 5 climbing Sherpas in the April 18 Everest Avalanche, once again finds themselves at the center of tragedy. Two of their guides, leading the group of six up the most challenging route on Rainier, were among the victims. When I posted an article about the guides, Eitan Green and Matthew Hegeman, on Facebook, one of our members had this to share about his trip with Alpine Ascents:

The first thing they did - the first thing - when we gathered as a group prior to the start of our Rainier climb, was ask each one of us what our motivations were to climb Rainier. The rest of the trip, how they trained us, the rope teams, our guide pairings - were a result of that conversation. The very second thing, was tell us that the #1 goal of the climb was to get everyone back to the van on their own two feet. AAI is a great organization and a fantastic friend to Rainier.

The Pacific Northwest's outdoor community is small, and we truly share in this tragic loss. We were contacted by several local media organizations to share our thoughts on the tragedy. Read the interview with immediate past-President Gavin Woody or hear the thoughts of board member Rich Draves, both experienced Rainier climbers. I feel I can speak for all Mountaineers in saying our hearts go out to the families of the victims. So hard to lose people in our own back yeard.

For more commentary and information on the accident, follow The Mountaineers on Facebook or check the links from Alpine Ascents.

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