American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Mt. Rainier

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

Washington, Mt. Rainier—On August 31, Marcel Schuster (40), former European guide, and Naydine Nutley (20), both from Yakima, Washington, and a two man support party checked out from the Nisqually entrance station for a summit climb via the Puyallup Cleaver-Tahoma glacier route. They had not reported in the next day as is the usual procedure.

The following day, September 2, Schuster arrived at the Paradise Ranger Station at 12:55 p.m. to report that Miss Nutley was in one of the steam caves on the summit suffering from exhaustion and exposure and was unable to come down under her own power. They had arrived at the summit the preceding night, September 1, after having spent fourteen hours above their high camp to reach the top. Both Schuster and Miss Nutley had spent the night on the summit and both attempted to descend the Emmons Glacier route on the morning of Tuesday the 2nd. Miss Nutley was unable to descend because a cold wind had frozen her steam-moistened clothing when she started down. In addition to this she was already in a state of exhaustion. Schuster took her back to the steam cave, provided her with all the spare clothing and food and started down alone. He found the guide’s tracks and followed them down the Emmons-Ingraham route, arriving at Paradise Ranger Station at 12:55 p.m. He stated that Miss Nutley’s condition was poor and that an air drop of hot food and clothing would be needed to sustain her. The Chief Ranger’s office was notified and an air drop from a plane stationed at the Sand Point Naval Air Station was arranged for through the Mountain Rescue Safety Council. Two of its members went along to assist with the drop.

The first party, composed of two of the summit guides, Dick McGowan and Gil Blinn, set out from Paradise at 1:30 p.m. They traveled light and were to pick up the radio and equipment at Camp Muir enroute to the summit. This team was followed at 2:30 by a large group composed of the remaining guide, Gary Rose, park ranger, ranger naturalist and fire control aids. At 5:33 p.m. information was received that the two air drops were successful and the girl had reached them. Both climbing parties continued to the summit. The first team reached the summit at 8:45 p.m. and treated Miss Nutley for shock and exposure. The second team arrived on the summit at 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 3rd. At 2:35 a.m. Wednesday morning, the third support party composed of rangers, fire control aids and Marcel Schuster, who had rested, left Paradise to go straight through until they met the parties returning from the summit, to assist with the evacuation of the litter and equipment dropped from the plane. The returning summit parties were met around the 12,000 foot elevation. Miss Nutley had recuperated sufficiently after receiving warm clothing, food, and a night’s rest to walk down. Clouds and inclement weather prevented the original support party of two who were stationed at high camp, from observing the climbing team, so when the climbers failed to return, the support team came out and down to the Nisqually entrance. They reported at 10 a.m. on September 2 that the climbing party was overdue, so plans were being formulated for a search when Schuster reported in to the Paradise Ranger Station around 12:55 the same day.

Source: Curtis K. Skinner, Acting Superintendent, Mt. Rainier National Park.

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.