Officials: 6 Climbers Dead at Washington's Mount Rainier

The six climbers on Mount Rainier who had not returned on Friday and were reported missing on Saturday are being reported dead by officials, the Seattle Times has shared. This is considered the worst disaster at the mountain in thirty years.

The company that the climbers ascended the mountain with was Alpine Ascents International, reportedly the same company that lost five sherpas at Mount Everest this past spring.

Searchers found tents and clothes, mixed with rock and ice, in a debris field along the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet, according to the National Park Service. The group's climbing route, to Liberty Peak, is prone to slides and among the more advanced on the mountain

The founder of Alpine Ascents, Todd Burleson, returned to Washington from Alaska on Saturday.

"Obviously this is a tragedy," he said. "We are very sad for the families and the loss of our guys. Everybody mourns this."

The leader of the climbing team is confirmed as Matt Hegeman of California, who had climbed Mount Rainier over 50 times.

Randy King, the superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, released a statement late on Saturday night.

"This accident represents a horrific loss for our guide partners and the families and loved ones of every one of the climbers lost on the mountain. . . . The climbing community is a small one and a close one and a loss of this magnitude touches many. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic accident."

The last great loss of life at Mount Rainier was in 1981 when 11 climbers were killed by an avalanche on the Ingraham Glacier.

[Image via AP]