A team of four climbing rangers, a dog handler and a dog trained to find missing people took the body of Patten native Nick Hall off Washington’s Mount Rainier on Thursday, a park spokeswoman said.
The team of climbers left the site by helicopter at about 4 p.m. EDT with Hall, who fell 2,500 feet on June 21 on the Emmons glacier after helping rescue four climbers from Waco, Texas. Some sources initially said he fell about 3,700 feet.
“I am sure it is a great weight off the shoulders of a lot of people to have him down off the mountain. It went smoothly,” Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.
Hall’s father, Carter Hall, said he was glad the climbing party got down safely and that the family could return to completing plans for a memorial service to be held in Patten at noon Friday.
“We are sure he will be able to be home before long,” Carter Hall said Thursday.
Nick Hall’s body landed at the 11,300-foot level on the north side of 14,411-foot Mount Rainier in an area prone to avalanches. Several feet of snow have fallen on the mountain since then.
Park rangers needed more than good weather to complete their task — and Thursday, Wold said, was a relatively good day, with temperatures in the low- to mid-30s and low to moderate winds.
They needed relatively clear skies, low winds and good visibility on the mountain for long enough to fly to the body, drop from a helicopter to the site and convey the body up to the helicopter. The constant threat of avalanches and sudden weather changes had stopped previous attempts.
A memorial service for Hall was held on June 29 at the park.
The Patten service will be held at Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church, 4 Houlton St. A reception will be held at the church afterward. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nick Hall Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 431, Patten, ME 04765.
Hall said it was appropriate to have the service at the church, which the Hall boys grew up in, and to give people who knew him a chance to mourn him with a service. It also allows the Hall family to thank those who have supported them with phone calls, visits and other signs of condolence.
“It is our hometown and that is who is supporting us right now,” Hall said, calling the support “everything you would want in a hometown.”