American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Washington, Mt. Rainier National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

Washington, Mt. Rainier National Park. At noon on 12 September a ranger climbing party was having lunch at Anvil Rock when a lone climber wearing a dark parka was observed some distance away rapidly ascending the Muir Snowfield toward Camp Muir. On September 15, District Ranger Haertel noticed a brown Chevrolet carryall which had been parked for some time in the Paradise Visitor Center parking lot and reported it to the Chief Ranger’s office. On September 16, relatives of Milton G. Armstrong (64) contacted the park stating that he was overdue. They further noted that Armstrong had planned to travel to Camp Muir on September 12. The Chevrolet carryall at Paradise was identified as belonging to Mr. Armstrong. He was found to have checked out on the Alta Vista trail register on September 12 and had not signed in.

Rangers Haertel and Hart left for Camp Muir at 12:30 p.m. on September 16, in rain and fog, checking the Anvil Rock area on the way. Armstrong’s pack was found in the public cabin at Muir with a note stating that he would return at 3:00 p.m. on September 12. A hasty search of the Camp Muir vicinity was then conducted prior to darkness. The Mountain Rescue Council was alerted and a team arrived at Paradise the following morning.

Extensive search operations did not locate Armstrong or his body. It was presumed he had been fatally injured. The search was finally called off because of heavy snowfall and deteriorating weather.

Source: Paul Haertel, Mt. Rainier National Park.

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