Body found on Mt. Rainier likely that of missing Minnesota climber


The search for a Minnesota man who went missing while climbing Mount Rainier in Washington has been suspended after authorities found a body matching his description near the mountain's summit.

Kyle Bufis, 25, a native of Maple Grove who lived in Utah, was climbing the mountain with two friends when he went missing about 9 p.m. Thursday, according to WCCO.

The three men had climbed Liberty Ridge, a challenging route on the north side of Mount Rainier, and were on their descent when they experienced bad weather - high winds and low visibility - according to NBC News.

They decided to make camp and wait for the weather to clear, Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold told NBC News. Bufis left the camp area to look for a piece of missing equipment and never came back, she said.

The other two climbers sent texts to their families saying Bufis was missing. Family members contacted park officials, who then launched a search, according to NBC News.

The other two members of the climbing team, Derek Gavelis and Mathew Wiech, descended on their own late Friday, Wold said in a statement. Both were tired, but in good physical condition.

The men are all experienced climbers, Wold said, but "the weather can change suddenly and drastically on the mountain."

Bufis grew up in Maple Grove, according to his Facebook page, and attended college at Adams State University in Colorado where he earned a degree in earth science.

Bufis worked as a field instructor for Expedition Therapy Associates in St. George, Utah. According to his job profile, Bufis was a wilderness first responder who was passionate about the outdoors.

Although the body matches the description of Bufis, the Pierce County medical examiner will make a positive identification.

It was just about a year ago when another Minnesota climber, 26-year-old Mark Mahaney of St. Paul, died while climbing Mount Rainier.

Mahaney and five others in a climbing party fell some 3,000 feet to their deaths, possibly due to an avalanche. They were also climbing on Liberty Ridge, which is one of the most difficult routes to Mount Rainier’s summit.

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