Kevin Backer, a public information officer for the Mount Rainier National Park, sent the Mountain News the following press release today concerning a missing hiker:
Rangers and Mountain Rescue volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park recovered the body of George Merriam, 66, of Lakewood, Washington today after an overnight search on Pinnacle Peak.
Merriam was reported missing by his wife last night when he did not return from a planned day hike. Rangers found his vehicle at the trailhead and conducted a hasty search of the trail and vicinity in the dark, then initiated a more thorough search at daybreak. Merriam was spotted by helicopter about 8:30 this morning, in steep terrain more than 200 feet below the trail, just before an approaching storm drove the helicopter off the mountain. Ground teams spent the next seven hours completing recovery operations, wrapping up about 3:30. Merriam’s name is being released following confirmation of his identity and notification of his family.
Twenty-nine individuals assisted in the search and recovery, including six volunteers from Olympic, Seattle, and Everett Mountain Rescue units and a helicopter from Northwest Helicopters of Olympia, Washington.
Pinnacle Peak is located in the middle of the Tatoosh Range, the dramatic mountains that lay just south of the Paradise Ranger Station. Pinnacle Peak rises over 6,000 feet.