Officials at Mount Rainier National Park on Tuesday said search teams recovered a body inside a crevasse believed to be Dawes Eddy, an 80-year-old man who had gone missing while climbing alone. The medical examiner will confirm the climber’s identity, officials said, marking a grim conclusion to a six-day search.
Eddy embarked on his solo climb up Mount Rainier, a volcano located in western Washington about 60 miles south of Seattle, on May 30, park officials said in a news release. The Spokane resident had made the journey along the volcano’s Ingraham Direct climbing route, which is part of one popular trail leading to Rainier’s glaciated summit and where the body was found. It was Eddy’s 50th time climbing the volcano, and he had attempted it to celebrate his birthday, the KING-TV reported.
The climber was last seen at 8:30 p.m. on the day he embarked, and at that time was traveling uphill at Cathedral Gap, another section of the trail routing toward Ingraham Glacier. Park rangers received a call reporting an overdue climber the following day “and immediately used aerial and ground resources to search likely climbing routes,” the National Park Service said.
Over the next six days, the national park used helicopter and ground teams to search the upper and lower portions of Mount Rainier along Eddy’s probable route. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter conducted a night operation flight on the third day, using an infrared sensor to search for signs of body heat around the Nisqually and Cowlitz Glaciers, but none were detected, according to the park service.
At around 9 p.m. on Monday night, two guides from a mountaineering company saw an unresponsive climber in a crevasse while doing route work and notified park officials. A helicopter crew performed a reconnaissance flight of the crevasse the next day and successfully recovered the body of the climber, who was then flown from the mountain.
This was the second reported death of a climber on Mount Rainier in the last week. On the morning of May 31, a 41-year-old man, identified as Brian Harper, collapsed near the summit of the volcano during a guided climb, officials said. The climb was led by Alpine Ascents International, which is one of the licensed guide services that works on Mount Rainier.
Harper was not breathing and no pulse could be found after his collapse, according to the National Park Service, which said that CPR was unsuccessful. The Pierce County Medical Examiner will determine a cause of death.