MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) -- An official at Mount Rainier National Park says there are no plans Sunday to recover the bodies of six climbers who likely fell thousands of feet to their deaths.
According to multiple sources, among those presumed dead is Matt Hegeman who was a resident of Truckee, and worked for Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International.
A post on Alpine Ascents International Website stated:
"As many of you now know, a climbing accident on Mt. Rainier (Liberty Ridge) took the lives of 6 Alpine Ascents Team Members, including two of our Guides and four climbers. The staff and larger Alpine Ascents community and families are stunned and grief stricken, as we send our condolences and reach out to the families and friends of the fallen climbers.
We are currently awaiting a formal press release from the National Park Service at which time we will provide more details. Our thanks to all who have reached out...though the emails and messages may seem small, they mean a lot to all of us and the families."
Spokeswoman Patti Wold said continuous ice fall and rock fall make the area too dangerous for rescuers. She says the area will be checked periodically by air in coming weeks and months.
She says that "there's no certainty that recovery is possible given the location."
Park officials believe the group fell 3,300 feet from their last known whereabouts of 12,800 feet on Liberty Ridge. Air and ground searches were suspended late Saturday afternoon.
A helicopter crew on Saturday spotted camping and climbing gear in the avalanche-prone area.