Missing Snowboarders Found on Mount Rainier as major snow storm hits

Special to the Mountain News

At approximately 1100 hours this morning, searchers at Mount Rainier National Park found the two snowboarders who have been missing since Sunday, November 12.   Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas Dale, 20, had spent Sunday snowboarding in the area above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park before they became lost in white-out winter snow conditions while descending from Camp Muir.

 Monday’s search effort focused on an area believed to be where the two snowboarders had spent Sunday evening.  On late Monday afternoon searcher had a visual of what they believed were the missing snowboarders.  Because of difficult terrain and low visibility, they were not able to make contact with these individuals before nightfall.

 Today, the park deployed a stronger search response over a greater area of the park, with volunteers from Tacoma, Olympic, and Seattle Mountain Rescue Teams; as well as four dog teams from the Washington Search and Rescue Task Force. 

 Derek and Thomas were found by one of the search groups in the Upper Stevens Creek drainage.  Currently, Mr. Tyndall and Mr. Dale are being re-warmed while an appropriate way to extricate them is being determined.

 Searchers utilized a combination of snowshoes and skis in the difficult conditions they found on the Mountain.  Stefan Lofgren, the Incident Commander on this search said, “We are relieved to have found Derek and Thomas!  The health and safety of not only our two lost subjects but all of our searchers has been and will continue to be our greatest concern today considering the high avalanche danger and the deep and laborious snow conditions.”

 Mount Rainer is a beautiful and alluring place to visit in the winter; however it is a dynamic and extreme environment that can become hazardous if you’re not prepared. When planning a trip to Mount Rainier’s backcountry in the winter, consider these important tips:

  • Before you leave home check and heed local weather forecasts, realizing weather can change for the worse in a very short period of time.
  • Know your experience and ability to survive in an alpine environment and don’t exceed.
  • Always carry survival gear with you, including the 10 essentials. Extra clothing and food in case you have to spend the night out.
  • Always leave word with someone on the specifics of where you’re going and when you expect to be home. It is always safest to not travel alone.
  • While electronic locators and communication can be helpful, they cannot be always be relied upon while in the Mount Rainier backcountry.
  • Remember you need to be responsible for your own safety.

 The above press release was received from NPS spokesperson, Fawn Bauer, today, Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

In related news, the Mountain News also recieved the following information from park official Donna Rahiers:

Crews closed both Chinook Pass (SR 410) and Cayuse Pass (SR 123) early Monday morning due to multiple snow slides.  After further inspection, the passes will remain closed for the season.

“It’s difficult for crews to maintain those routes and manage avalanche control through wet and unstable conditions like this,” said Les Turnley, WSDOT maintenance supervisor.

Approximately 20 inches of snow fell on the passes Monday, Nov. 12. There is a small break in the weather forecasted for mid-week, and the next major storm is expected on Friday.

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One Response to Missing Snowboarders Found on Mount Rainier as major snow storm hits

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