Friday, Jul 6, 2012
A mission to recover Ranger Nick Hall from the Winthrop Glacier on Mount Rainier yesterday morning was successful. He died on June 21st while responding to a rescue of four injured climbers on Mount Rainier. A team of five Mount Rainier climbing rangers and a search dog team were flown up to his location at about 11,000 feet on the north side of Mount Rainier. The operation, including a preliminary reconnaissance flight, went smoothly and was completed in approximately two hours. Air operations were supported by a Chinook and crew from the 214th Aviation Unit out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and a Hughes 530 from Northwest Helicopters.
An estimated 450 people attended Nick’s memorial service last Friday at the Jackson Visitor Center. Many others watched the service via live streaming video at the Paradise Inn and at other locations across the park and country. Video coverage of the service can be viewed and download at the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.
A family memorial service is planned for today in Patten, Maine. Climbing rangers Stefan Lofgren, Tom Payne and Brian Hasabe, the National Park Service honor guard, and rangers from Acadia National Park will be in attendance.
“Nick's family is relieved to know that he has been safely recovered from the mountain,” said Randy King, the park’s superintendent in a message to park staff. “Moreover, they are deeply appreciative of the support and assistance they have received from the park and NPS and especially valued the time spent in the park last week with the coworkers and friends who knew and loved Nick best.
“You have responded to the most difficult work-life scenario imaginable – the line of duty death of a co-worker and friend – with extraordinary grace, compassion and professionalism. Each of you has been called upon to help in some way, whether working with the teams brought in to help us, preparing for the memorial events, providing food and logistical support, communicating information, assisting the family and each other, or supporting operations. I am profoundly grateful for all that you have done, and continue to do, to honor Nick, support each other and serve Mount Rainier National Park.”