SEATTLE — Nearly a dozen people trekking to the summit of Mount Rainier were overtaken by an avalanche Saturday, but guides pulled all except one from the snow, officials said.
A helicopter scoured the slope of Mount Rainier, some 60 miles east of Seattle, for the climber and a skier reported in the area who may also be missing, said Patti Wold, Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman.
Continuing avalanche dangers prevented a ground search Saturday, and officials said it might not be safe enough to search again by air or land until today.
Several climbing teams were ascending toward the summit when the slab avalanche occurred at 4:45 a.m. Saturday at the 12,500-foot level; a large plate of snow broke away from the mountain, Wold said.
The avalanche ran about 1,200 feet down the Ingraham Direct Route and overtook 11 climbers, she said. Mountaineering guides pulled 10 from the snow, but the other person could not be located, she said.
A helicopter from the US Army Reserve out of Fort Lewis airlifted two injured climbers from the upper mountain Saturday afternoon. Wold said they were flown to a hospital and were in stable condition with lacerations and other injuries. There were no reports of any other significant injuries.
Officials said the 11th person may have been climbing alone.