MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities family is coming to terms with the fact that their missing son is likely dead after going on a mountain climbing trip last week.
Mark Mahaney, 26, of St. Paul, Minn. was one of six climbers who went missing last Wednesday on Mount Rainier in Washington.
The National Park Service said they were all likely killed in a 3,300 foot fall near their last known location.
The search was called off Saturday after being deemed too dangerous.
Rescuers at Mt. Rainier found tents and clothes in the debris field, but no bodies.
The park service said in a statement that there was no chance of survival from such a fall, and speculated on the cause.
“We don’t know if they were on some ice that collapsed; we don’t know if a small avalanche occurred,” Patricia Wold, a park ranger at Mt. Rainier, said.
Mahaney’s family members and co-workers are expressing their shock and sadness.
Mark posted a picture of the climbing route on his Facebook page in April, commenting “Nothing will be easy on this climb.”
His family said he was an experienced climber and had scaled Mt. Rainier before.
He worked in software at a GovDelivery, Inc., a communications company in St. Paul, Minn.
“Mark was an outstanding member of our team. He was a talented and driven man. He brought his positive attitude and strong work ethic to the office every day,” Scott Burns, the CEO of GovDelivery, said in an earlier statement.
“This is just a huge loss to the climbing community here in the area and worldwide, and of course the families,” Wold said.
Over the phone, Mahaney’s uncle said that his parents are praying for a miracle and still hopeful he is alive.
Mahaney also has a girlfriend, who his uncle described as devastated.
Park officials said that it’s possible that the bodies of the four climbers and two guides may never be found.