Every year, volunteers assist with rescues on Mount Rainier. Our first major incident of the winter season occurred last Tuesday the 2nd, and was aided by both a climbing volunteer and several Mountain Rescue units. Volunteers are a vital link in our Search and Rescue chain. Here's the official report from Incident Commander Glenn Kessler:
Late afternoon Tuesday, a 911 call was patched through to Mount Rainier Dispatch from an injured 61-year-old male hiker. He had broken his lower leg when he slipped on a steep icy slope and fell 50 feet just above Panorama Point coming to rest after hitting a rock hard enough to result in a compound fracture of both lower leg bones of one leg.
A group of skiers descending from Camp Muir fortuitously came upon the accident site and the injured hiker. The group was better prepared than the great majority of backcountry travelers and was able to radio park rangers with the GPS coordinates and other pertinent information. They then went to great lengths to protect, rewarm and care for the injured party for several hours of cold and windy conditions while mountain rescue resources were summoned to the park to perform a carryout.
Teams from Tacoma Mountain Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue and Olympic Mountain Rescues were battered by high winds as they performed the late night evacuation by rescue litter. The operation included several steep-angle technical roped lowers down the icy slopes of Panorama Point. Rescue efforts continued into the wee hours of the morning. The injured hiker was transported by ambulance to the hospital.