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Ranger led life of joy, heroism

12:32 am June 30th, 2012

In this photo provided by Mount Rainier National Park, ranger Nick Hall is seen during one of his many climbs on the mountain. He died there while helping rescue four climbers from Texas.

 

While Nick Hall’s body remained on the side of the mountain where he pursued his passion and ultimately died, his family and friends gathered last Friday to reflect on his life and the mark he made as a Mount Rainier National Park ranger.

A memorial service was held in the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise in the park where he was a member of the climbing ranger staff for four years before his death June 21.

Hall, 33, was among rescuers who were evacuating four climbers from the mountain after a fall by the group left two of them in a crevasse and three of them injured. After reaching them and helping with preparations for them to be airlifted from the scene of their mishap, Hall himself slipped and fell about 2,500 feet to his death.

The position of  his body location and the location was marked with the aid of global positioining. But weather and high-danger avalanche conditions in the area continued through last weekend to prevent crews from removing him.

A Park Service incident response spokesman said Friday that the next best opportunity for recovering Hall’s body was expected to be Monday.

Hall’s brother, father and other speakers at the memorial service shared stories and insights, often emotional, about the man who grew up loving the outdoors and made it his joy-filled pursuit personally and professionally.

“He was my only brother. It’s going to be tough to work and play without that camaraderie. I’m going to miss him,” said Aaron Hall.

Jon Jarvis, director of the Park Service:, said the agency “tells America’s story. Now we are telling the story of a brother, a son, a friend” who is one of the “heroes who walk among us every day, and who now we’ve lost.”

(Read more of this story in the July 4 print edition of The Dispatch)

 

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