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Body of missing climber, an Army vet, found on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier (Walter Siegmund/WikiCommons)

A Seattle climber who was reported missing last week after skiing on Mount Rainier was found dead Monday, according to a statement from Mount Rainier National Park.

Matthew Bunker, 28, was reported missing by another member of his climbing party Friday, the statement said.

He had been skiing ahead of his climbing partner near Thumb Rock on the north side of Mount Rainier, at about 10,400 feet, when he was believed to have fallen in steep terrain during the descent of the upper mountain, park spokesperson Kevin Bacher said over the weekend.

“As they were descending from Thumb Rock, unknown events caused his fall in steep, treacherous terrain,” the statement said.

The National Park Service conducted several flights during the search, though rangers experienced “severe downslope winds and clouds,” which hampered search efforts, the statement said.

The search team found Bunker in a crevasse at the base of a cliff Monday, when clear skies allowed a helicopter and rangers to fly close enough to the mountain to conduct a thorough search, park officials said.

According to the statement, the area is subject to continuous rock and ice fall, which “pose too high of a risk for rescue personnel to access the location and recover Matthew.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to Matthew’s loved ones and friends” said park deputy superintendent Tracy Swartout in the statement. “It brings us a great degree of sorrow to be unable to bring him home to his family.”

Bunker was an outdoor photographer and a consultant at Deloitte, according to his LinkedIn profile and personal website. He graduated from West Point in 2013 and spent five years serving in the military, the statement said.

Both his parents currently live in his hometown, Delavan, Wisconsin.

Bunker was the third person reported missing on Mount Rainier in the past week. Park officials last week began two separate searches for missing hikers: Vincent Dije, a 25-year-old Indonesian student living in Seattle, and Talal Sabbagh, a 27-year-old Seattle man. Ground searches for both men continue, park officials said.


© 2020 The Seattle Times