Search suspended for stricken climber on WA peak

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ASHFORD, Wash. (AP) -- A search for an ailing climber left high on Washington's Mount Rainier has been suspended due to strong winds and evidence that he likely fell 2,000 feet.

National Park spokeswoman Lisa Lombard told The News Tribune that 50-year-old Rob Plankers of Olympia would not have been able to survive such a fall.

Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said Tuesday evening that an aerial search showed a 2,000-foot slide path leading down a steep ice-and-snow-covered slope from the point where Plankers was last seen. The aerial search found no signs of the man, although ground searchers found some of his equipment where his companions left him, at 13,600 feet on the 14,411-foot mountain.

Plankers and two friends were climbing the challenging Liberty Ridge route. Lombard says they were experienced and well-prepared but encountered bad weather that left Plankers suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. The other two went for help Monday.

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com