Alaskan man who died in Mount Rainier rockfall identified; second climber in serious condition

Mt. Rainier as seen in August 2016. Rangers at Mount Rainier National Park are attempting to rescue four climbers stranded on the challenging Liberty Ridge route to the summit and issued an emergency closure for the route Wednesday.


By ASIA FIELDS | The Seattle Times | Published: June 1, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — A man who died while climbing Mount Rainier Wednesday has been identified as Arleigh William Dean, 45, of Alaska, by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.

Dean died of multiple traumatic injuries after being caught in a rockfall along Liberty Ridge, a route to the summit that's known for being treacherous.

Dean was among six climbers from New Jersey, Colorado, Alaska and Poland who were camping along the route Wednesday night when the rocks fell. Dean died and two climbers were injured, said park spokesman Kevin Bacher.

A 37-year-old man was taken by Airlift Northwest to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He remained in serious condition in the intensive- care unit  Friday morning, said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

The other injured climber was taken to Arbor Health's Morton Hospital in Lewis County and was released Thursday, said hospital spokesman Roy Anderson.

The three other climbers, who were not injured, were flown off the mountain Thursday evening.

The six men were camping near Thumb Rock, a point more than 10,000 feet in elevation where most climbers make final camp before embarking on the final stretch to the summit. While it's generally considered a safe place to camp, Bacher said there are always hazards, especially along such a difficult route.

"The reality is, there is risk on this mountain," Bacher said. "There are always things that can break loose, and no place on the mountain is 100% safe."

Liberty Ridge is known as the "hardest and most dangerous regularly climbed route on Mount Rainier," according to the National Park Service, which says the route is risky to all climbers, not just the inexperienced.


Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton contributed to this report.
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