MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. - Jon Cahill, 40, died Thursday from a 200-foot fall during a recreational climb on Mount Rainier. Rescue climbers and an Oregon National Guard helicopter rushed to reach him, but by the time the helicopter arrived, he was dead. Cahill's climbing partner, Mark H. Anderson, 33, was flown to a hospital for treatment of a hand injury. He was in satisfactory condition late Thursday.
Cahill and Anderson, both emergency medical technicians, had planned to reach the summit by midmorning Thursday. Cahill perished on Liberty Ridge, about 11,300 feet up the 14,410-foot peak and one of the mountain's most dangerous routes, about two weeks after another person perished on the same route. It was not immediately known what caused Cahill's fall.
Mount Rainier head ranger Jill Hawk said Cahill had climbed the Liberty Ridge route on Rainier's north side more than a half dozen times. He was married with four children. "Our hearts go out to their families," she said. "It's truly a tragic situation." Cahill's death during a summit ascent of Mount Rainier was the 91st since 1887, when records were first kept.
On May 15 on the same ridge, Peter Cooley tumbled down a steep, icy slope and hit his head on a rock spur. His climbing partner, Scott Richards, maneuvered the two of them to a tiny flat spot, but the Maine men were stranded for two days as temperatures dipped below freezing in whiteout conditions. Cooley, 39, was picked up by a National Guard helicopter May 17 from the 12,300-foot level but died on the way to a hospital. Accompanied by two rangers, Richards hiked down to a glacier the following day and was picked up by a helicopter.