Sport: Death on Two Mountains

Accidents kill 16 on the darkest day in U.S. climbing history

As the first rays of dawn conquered the peaks of the Cascade Range last week, 23 climbers and six guides paused before attempting their final assault on the 14,410-ft. pinnacle of Washington's Mount Rainier. "The view was awesome," recalled Larry Martinson, 39, an insurance agent from Seattle. Then, while the climbers munched candy bars and took photographs some 2,000 ft. above the clouds, the morning stillness was shattered by what is surely the nation's worst mountaineering disaster.* It was only the first...

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