Local Missing in Blizzard Conditions on Mount Rainier

Mark Vucich of San Diego is missing on Mount Rainier with a winter storm warning in effect until midnight Wednesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ken Nichols
    Snow is expected through the weekend according to the National Weather Service.

    A San Diego man is one of four people missing in Mount Rainier National Park during a powerful winter storm. 

    Mark Vucich, 37, of San Diego and Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta were due back Sunday.

    The pair was said to be camping in the Muir snowfield at the 10,000-foot level rangers said.

    The park will send rangers as soon as there's a break in the storm, which is dropping 2 to 3 feet of snow according to spokesperson Patti Wold.

    Climbers from Springfield, Ore. are also missing. They were due back Monday from an attempt to reach the summit of the 14,410-foot mountain.

    The two parties are believed to be well-equipped with tents, sleeping bags and other gear needed to survive. Rangers hope they're waiting out the storm.

    A winter storm warning is in effect until midnight Wednesday. The National Weather Service expects snow and rain at lower levels of the mountain through the weekend.

    A snowshoer lost in a blizzard for two days in the same area spoke to a Seattle television station Tuesday night and described how he burned personal items including money to stay warm.

    Yong Chun Kim, 66, of Tacoma, said he carried a lighter and other emergency supplies and burned personal items: extra socks, Band-Aid, toothbrush, packaging, and lastly $1 and $5 bills from his wallet.

    With temperatures in the teens and winds whipping on the mountain, Kim said he kept walking and moving to stay warm. He took cover in several tree wells -- depressions in snow that forms around a tree -- and slept standing for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

    Kim, a U.S. citizen for 30 years, was leading 16 members of a hiking and climbing club from Tacoma on Saturday -- a trip he takes nearly every week -- when he slid down a slope and became separated and disoriented.

    Kim was in such good shape that when he was found, he did not have to go to a hospital and instead went home with his family.

    His experience won't stop him from heading to Mount Rainier again. "Oh yeah, of course, every Saturday." But he added: "If it's a bad day, don't hike again."

     

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