A 10-man search team failed last night to find any sign of survivors among the jumbled blocks of ice that swept away 11 persons on Mount Rainier Sunday in the nation's worst climbing disaster.
The search team made a quick ascent to the accident scene after waiting out a blizzard in three stone cabins at the 10,000-foot level, said Bob Dunnagan, chief ranger for Mount Rainier National Park.
The group, which had to battle 50 mph winds and two-foot drifts to reach the scene of the ice fall, returned to the cabins for the night and planned another search trip today, weather permitting, Dunnagan said.
Led by veteran mountaineers Lou and Jim Whittaker, the search team rushed up the 1,000-vertical-foot hike ascent over a one-mile-long climb to the area where giant blocks of glacial ice had come crashing down, burying members of a 29-man climbing party.
The victims, trapped beneath ice blocks as large as cars and estimated to be 70 feet deep, were feared dead.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, authorities recovered the bodies of four climbers who fell to their deaths on the 11,235-foot Mount Hood, in an accident caused when roped-together climbers lost their footing.
A fifth climber from the 17-member party died Sunday night at a Portland hospital. Four others remained hospitalized, authorities said.