25-year-old climbing instructor Kyle Bufis went missing on Thursday on Mount Rainier. According to the National Park service Bufis was together with two other people at 14.000 feet elevation close to Liberty Saddle on the northern region of the mountain where the visibility is low.
The climbing instructor was reported missing on Friday at 5:10 AM. The two other climbers who were with him were identified as Mathew Wiech and Derek Gavelis. They were just tired, but their condition was good according to a statement made by the National Park Service.
It seems that the three men were descending the Washington State mountain on Thursday evening and Bufis disappeared because of the extreme weather conditions which besides low visibility also included high winds. Although the park rangers heard about his disappearance around 5:10 AM on Friday, it seems that Bufis went missing at around 9 PM on Thursday. Late on Friday afternoon the other two climbers managed to reach Camp Schurman.
On Friday evening the search for the climbing instructor was suspended, but was resumed on Saturday. The park rangers are focusing their search on the confluence of the Emmons and Winthrop glaciers.
The Park Service said that a US Army Reserve 214th Air Division Chinook helicopter along with another aircraft were used in the search for Bufis. In addition 26 park personnel were assigned to take part in the search. The Chinook helicopter dropped rangers in the region were the search is focused on. However the winds could cause problems since they can reach up to 70 mph. In addition a temporary flight restriction was introduced in the area where the search is conducted.
Kyle Bufis is a climbing instructor from Expedition Therapy (Utah). He is both an experienced climber and a wilderness first responder. He posted many photos from his outdoor adventures on his Facebook profile. He even posted a photo of Liberty Ridge on Instagram. On his work profile Bufis wrote:
“Earth Science, rock climbing, and hiking are just a few of the many outdoor pursuits that can open your mind to new things.”
Climbing accidents and deaths caused by them are often the highest in the nation in Washington. They represent 20 percent of the injuries and fatalities occurring in sports.
Image Source: HDWallPick