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Bodies spotted on Mount Rainier where climbing party disappeared

A Mount Rainier National Park Service spokesperson said officials are trying to determine how to retrieve bodies sighted on Liberty Ridge.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 12, 2014 at 4:48 PM   |   Comments

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SEATTLE, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Pilots on training flights spotted three bodies on Liberty Ridge, where six climbers vanished in May, officials in Washington's Mount Rainier National Park said.

They were seen last week below Willis Wall in an area currently off-limits to climbers because of falling ice, a spokesperson said. Officials are trying to determine how the bodies can be recovered.

The National Park Service said, after the team disappeared, that Liberty Ridge is the most dangerous route to the 14,411-foot summit of Mount Rainier. While only 2 percent of climbers use Liberty Ridge, about 25 percent of the deaths on the mountain have occurred there.

The group was led by two guides from Alpine Ascents International, a Seattle company, Matthew Hegeman, 38, and Eitan Green, 28. Hegeman, the leader, was described as a very experienced climber who had been on Rainier 50 times.

The others in the party were John Mullally of Seattle, Mark Mahaney of St. Paul, Minn., Uday Marty of Singapore and Erik Britton Kolb of New York City.

In late June, Karen Sykes, 70, an outdoor writer, died of hypothermia after she got separated from her hiking partner. She was on a trail on the park's east side at about 5,000 feet above sea level.

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