The body of a 52-year-old climber has been recovered after falling to his death from Mount Rainier, one of the tallest major peaks in the United States.
The incident happened on Monday when, according to the National Parks Service, witnesses warned them they had seen a man fall while descending the Disappointment Cleaver Trail, a prominent climbing route on the south side of Mount Rainier in Washington.
The climber was later identified as a 52-year-old Canadian citizen from Surrey, British Columbia, named Chun Hui Zhang, and he was reportedly on a private recreational climb of Mount Rainier with friends when he fell, the National Park Service said in a statement. press release announcing his death.
The circumstances surrounding how Zhang fell from the mountain have not been made public at this time.
Authorities said they made several unsuccessful attempts to locate the fallen climber shortly after being notified of the incident, but were unable to reach him that day.
“Zhang was located the next day by a team of NPS rangers,” NPS said. “Using a helicopter contracted by the NPS, rangers were able to reach and free the climber’s body. Guides and employees of International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. have provided valuable assistance in the incident.”
Mount Rainier is located about 100 miles southeast of Seattle in the Cascade Mountain Range, and the National Park Service says the Disappointment Cleaver trail may offer “some unique benefits and dangers to recreational climbers.”
“Climbers often underestimate the physical requirements needed to successfully and safely climb Mount Rainier,” says a route briefing on the Disappointment Cleaver route. “Bad weather is another major factor in reversing climbing parties. Climbing in bad weather leads to most accidents on Mount Rainier, even though these conditions are easy to predict. Inexperience with steep and glacial terrain is also a contributing factor to aborted climbs.”
Mount Rainier rises to an elevation of 14,410 feet above sea level, according to NPS. The mountain is also an active volcano and, with five major rivers, is the most ice-covered peak in the contiguous United States.
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