The six people believed to have died in Mount Rainier's worst accident in decades include a veteran climber who had reached the Washington state mountain's summit more than 50 times. "We're still in a state of shock," a spokesman for the company that organized the climb tells the New York Times. The two guides and four clients are believed to have fallen more than 3,000 feet from their last known position, 12,800 feet up, and park officials say it is presently too dangerous to search for the bodies and there is a chance they could never be found.
"People are very understanding that we cannot risk another life at this point," a park spokeswoman says. The group was attempting one of the most difficult routes up the peak, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Nothing will be easy on this climb," predicted one climber, 26-year-old Mark Mahaney, telling a relative who advised him not to go that "there’s nothing going to stop me." Mahaney "just loved to climb, he loved the outdoors, he loved the exhilaration of being in the wide open," his uncle tells the AP. "Even as a toddler he was always climbing out of his crib. His parents couldn't keep him anywhere—he'd always find a way to get out of anything."