Skip to main content

Mt. Rainier: Bodies of 3 climbers recovered, one may be St. Paul man


Searchers on Tuesday recovered the bodies of three of the six climbers who died on Mount Rainier in Washington three months ago, park officials said Wednesday.

One of the dead is a St. Paul man, 26-year-old Mark Mahaney. It's not known yet if he was one of the three who were recovered; the local medical examiner will identify the bodies.

Mahaney and five other climbers were killed in a 3,300-foot fall from Liberty Ridge, the steep north slope of Mount Rainier, on May 31. Park officials speculate that a rock fall or avalanche swept the climbers down the mountain.

During the initial search, crews found gear and detected signals from avalanche beacons buried in the snow. But searchers had to call off their efforts a few days later because of harsh conditions. Park officials said at the time the remains might never be recovered.

The three bodies were spotted two weeks ago by park staffers during a helicopter flight in the area, after recent warm weather melted some of the ice and snow. They were found in a debris field on the Carbon Glacier below Liberty Ridge, the same location where the climbers went missing.

Recovery efforts were delayed until this week because of unstable conditions on the mountain , according to KOMO News in Seattle.

On Tuesday, rescuers flew by helicopter to the area and used a remote-controlled grabber device mounted on a 100-foot long line to recover the bodies, according to park officials. They said the crew did not see any signs of the other three climbers during the operation.

The six-person climbing party was made up of four clients and two climbing guides from Alpine Ascents International. They were all experienced climbers, including Mahaney, who had climbed Mount Rainier once before. He had also summited Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain peak.

Mount Rainier, southeast of Seattle, stands at 14,410 feet and attracts thousands of climbers trying to reach its summit every year. Last year, about 10,800 people attempted to climb it, but only 129 used the more challenging Liberty Ridge route, according to park statistics.

This is believed to be the worst alpine accident on the mountain since 1981, when 11 people were killed by a massive ice fall.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.


Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.