Climbers killed on Rainier identified



Updated: June 3, 2014, 11:21 AM


Family: Missing hiker is New York finance manager

OLYMPIA (AP) — The family of a New York man has identified him as one of the six people presumed dead in a climbing accident on Mount Rainier.

The statement issued Tuesday says Erik Britton Kolb is a 34-year-old finance manager at American Express.

The statement calls Kolb an avid outdoorsman who lived with his wife in Brooklyn.

Authorities say the bodies of the two guides and four climbers who fell last week on the 14,410-foot glaciated peak may never be recovered because of the hazardous terrain.

It’s not yet known what caused the climbers to fall from their last known location at 12,800 feet.

They were last heard from Wednesday evening when the guides checked in with their Seattle-based company, Alpine Ascents International, by satellite phone. The group failed to return Friday as planned.

TACOMA — All but one of the six climbers presumed dead in the second-deadliest accident in Mount Rainier history had been identified as of Monday evening.

Officials from Mount Rainier National Park and Alpine Ascents International, the Seattle company that guided the ill-fated climb, say they are not releasing the names of the victims unless the families request them to do so.

Among those believed dead are guides Matt Hegeman, 38, and Eitan Green, 28, AAI confirmed Monday via its website.

Also identified are Mark Mahaney, a 26-year-old St. Paul, Minn., resident; John Mullally, 40 of Seattle, a longtime Microsoft employee; and Uday Marty, a 40-year-old Intel employee based in Singapore.

The party, led by Hegeman, was climbing Liberty Ridge last week and was last heard from at 6 p.m. Wednesday when the guides checked in via satellite phone. All was going well at the time, but when the group failed to return to the White River Campground on Friday, park rangers were notified.

After searching Saturday, park officials said the climbers most likely died in a rock fall or avalanche and are now buried someplace high on the Carbon Glacier.

The location is unsafe to search because of falling debris and other hazards and it is unclear when — or if — the climbers bodies will be recovered.

“It’s an area you don’t want to go,” said Peter Ellis, one of the climbing rangers who searched Liberty Ridge on Saturday.

The presumed deaths make it the highest toll in a climbing accident on Rainier since 1981 when an avalanche buried 11 on the Ingraham Glacier.

Hegeman was a resident of Truckee, California, but had climbed Rainier more than 50 times via multiple routes, according to the profile on the AAI website.

“Matt, intense, philosophical and driven by the right way to do things, left an indelible mark on all around him. His pursuit for excellence was matched by his sense of camaraderie and humor,” AAI posted Monday on its website.

Green graduated from Colby College in Maine with a degree in anthropology and started working for AAI in 2009, working trips around the world.

On the AAI website, the company wrote: “Eitan, quick with a smile and exuberant, had that infectious nature of guides who love their work and time in the mountains. His talent as a strong leader and critical thinker in the wilderness was unsurpassed.”

Mullally’s wife, Holly Mullally, issued a statement to the Seattle Times on Monday that said, in part: “John was an amazing husband, father, friend, mountaineer, and all around human being.”

She described her husband as a “truly self-made man” who worked his way up the ranks at Microsoft. The father of 5-and 9-year-old daughters, he had a passion for climbing and reached Rainier’s summit for the first time in his 20s.

Holly Mullally plans to establish an educational memorial fund in her husband’s honor, according the statement.

Uday was the managing director of Intel South East Asia. According to the company website, Uday joined Intel in 1996 as a design engineer and received the company’s Achievement Award in 2008 and 2010.

“He was an accomplished engineer and manager and was widely respected throughout the company,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said Monday in an email to The News Tribune.

Mahaney was an experienced climber. He’d climbed Rainier previously and also summited Alaska’s Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak at 20,322 feet. His Facebook page shows images of him climbing ice and rock. He worked for a technology company.

A picture of the Liberty Ridge Route was posted on his Facebook page on April 18, along with the comment “Nothing will be easy on this climb.”