At 4:30 pm on Sunday, Nov. 11, two snowboarders, ages 20 and 21, called 911 to report that they had become lost in a winter storm while descending from Camp Muir in Mount Rainier National Park. They had winter gear, smart phones, and a compass, but no overnight gear.
This morning, Monday, Nov. 12, four teams totaling 28 people began a search for the missing individuals, Derek Tyndall and Thomas Dale. National Park Service rescuers are being assisted by 18 members of Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue and two search dogs from Kitsap County. Aerial resources are also being organized to deploy if weather conditions permit.
Tyndall and Dale checked in by cell phone this morning and reported that they had made a snow cave for the night and were cold but in good condition. The weather overnight was severe, with high winds and 20 inches of fresh snow at Paradise. Conditions are better today but with low visibility. Based on landmarks the two were able to describe in the fog, and information from their cell phones, searchers are focusing on an area around McClure Rock at around 7500 feet elevation.
Last winter was a challenging one at Mount Rainier with numerous rescues and several fatalities. The National Park Service urges people to enjoy the mountain safely. Carry extra gear and be prepared to spend the night out. Get a detailed and up-to-date weather forecast. Let family and friends know your plans and itinerary. Know your capabilities, and turn around before exceeding them.