Park rangers have launched an aerial search for six climbers that went missing on Washington’s Mount Rainier, reports say.
The climbers, two guides and four clients with Alpine Ascents International, a Seattle company, started their climb on Monday, but were expected to step off the mountain on Friday.
The company had not heard from them and notified park rangers.
They were last contacted on Wednesday when the group called park rangers on a satellite phone at 6 p.m. to let them know they were at the elevation marker of 12,800 feet.
The 14,410 foot-tall mountain was hit by hail and a small weather front of flurries on Wednesday, Park Ranger Fawn Bauer said.
The search also includes a team of rangers climbing their route with the helicopter serving as a spotter.
The identities of the climbers have not been released.
A blog post shared by Alpine Ascents International on Tuesday says one of their Liberty Ridge group checked in to their campsite at 10,700 feet and were watching the forecast to choose their route to the summit.
The mountain is trekked by about 10,000 each year, but some never make it to the summit due to the tough environment. This is one of the largest groups of climbers to go missing on the mountain since four people died in 2012 of hypothermia during a winter storm.
One of the worst mountaineering deaths on Mount Rainier happened in 1981 when an avalanche killed 11 climbers.
With news wire services.
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