Body Recovered on Pinnacle Peak Trail in Mount Rainier National Park

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.

Editor’s Note:

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.

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One Response to Body Recovered on Pinnacle Peak Trail in Mount Rainier National Park

  1. Rainier has always claimed its share of victims. The worst was probably this one: http://www3.gendisasters.com/washington/18465/mount-rainier-wa-glacier-collapse-kills-eleven-june-1981

    I was actually on the rescue party for the 1981 incident, only because some of the group was hastily assembled, I happened to be at the park at the right place, and they asked me if I had boots and an ice axe. So I went along. There was nothing to do when we got there. I heard that the people who escaped the icefall were mostly ones who dropped their packs before they started to run. More than thirty years later and I can remember it like yesterday. Respect the Mountain.

    My condolences go out to the family of the Lakewood man killed this week. The only comfort I can offer them is this: It is better to die doing something you love than many other types of deaths. I know that’s not much, but it is all I have.

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