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Crater Lake National Park Rangers Searching For Missing Snowshoer

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Snow cornices at Crater Lake/NPS-Greg Funderburk

Snowshoeing might seem like a relatively safe activity in the national parks, but the landscape you're walking across might demand some extra attention. That seems to have been the case in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, where rangers are searching for a snowshoer who likely fell into the crater when a snow cornice he was standing on collapsed.

Park officials were notified on April 30 that a snowshoer who went into the park two days earlier hadn't returned from his outing. The missing person report indicated that the visitor had rented snowshoes from the park concessioner and set off to hike and take photos.

Park rangers immediately searched the Rim Village area and located the missing hiker's vehicle.  "Following a lead, search teams responded to an area near the crater rim, and observed snowshoe tracks leading from the trail onto a snow cornice that had collapsed," a park release said. "Extensive search efforts in that area by ground and air have not located the individual. The search has been scaled back, but is ongoing as weather and snow conditions permit. Investigation of the lakeshore by boat will occur once access is possible."

Snow cornices are formed when snow is blown over sharp terrain like the rim of Crater Lake. The snow forms an overhang with no solid ground beneath it for support. Snow cornices are a regular occurrence in the park this time of year, a park release notes, and can collapse without warning. Visitors should use extreme caution and stay away from the edge of the rim at all times.


Selected History of human tragedy along the Caldera's Edge at Crater Lake:



Deaths at Crater Lake National Park



July 27

A woman falls 700 to her death at Discovery Point at 3:20 p.m. The only eyewitness, besides her three children (Jeremy, 16; John, 7; and Brittany, 5) was former ranger, Bruce Black, who saw the fall from Wizard Island. Bruce resides at 850 N.W. Antelope Place, Corvallis 97330. The body of Della Marie Zielinski, 33, of Mead, Washington was recovered the next day. The Zielinski family had walked out beyond the warning signs to a narrow, rocky, spine-like ridge to gain a better view of Wizard Island. The mother was holding the youngest child when she lost her footing. The woman tossed the youngster to her teenager as she fell to her death.





September 10

Brian Thomas, 26, a Viet Nam veteran suffering from a severe case of post battle shock, arrives at Crater Lake, along with his wife, hoping that the peaceful, mountain surroundings will calm his troubled spirit. Brian had been threatening suicide while battling bouts of depression. Thomas spent much of the night, sitting in the Lodge lobby, wrapped in a sheet, talking and praying. Mrs. Thomas keeps an all night vigil, hoping to be able to intervene in case her husband becomes violent or dangerous to himself.

September 11

At about 8:00 a.m. Brian Thomas suddenly jumps up, announcing that he is going to killhimself, and runs out of the Lodge. Mrs. Thomas screams for help, and is quickly joined in the chase by the boat crew and several other Lodge employees. Thomas leads his pursuers along the Rim Promenade toward the Visitor Center and the Sinnott Overlook. Running down the long stone stairway, with the boat crew yelling for him to stop, Thomas, without missing a step, jumps to his death from the curving parapet of the entrance walkway in full view of Ranger Linda Appanaitis and a group of Park visitors





March 28

Nick Carlino of Grants Pass, Oregon disappears while snow shoeing along the Rim, just west of Rim Village. When his German Shepherd returned to the Cafeteria Building alone, Nick’s wife instituted a search. Calino’s snowshoe tracks were traced to the Crater’s edge where they abruptly disappeared, giving the impression that Carlino had been carried over the edge on top of an avalanche when the cornice broke loose.

April 7

Nick Carlino’s body found in approximately five feet of water, encased in ice, near the base of the fatal avalanche.


MT report: Man Falls off Crater Lake Rim; Fate Unknown – Snow Overhang Give Way Under Grants Pass Man – Rescue Workers Find No Trace – Nick Carlino, 30, of New Hope Road, Grants Pass, fell from the rim of Crater Lake Sunday afternoon to an uncertain fate. Rescue workers yesterday and so far today have failed to turn up a trace of the man. Workers, lowered from the Rim by ropes, are probing the 170 inches of snow for the Body.
According to Einar Johnson, Superintendent, Carlino had gone snowshoeing accompanied by his dog. Carlino’s wife, Cathy, was at the Coffee Shop when the dog returned there and led her back to the Crater’s Rim about 200 yards west of the Cafeteria.
Johnson said it appeared a snow overhang on the rim gave way, plunging Carlino down the steep cliff toward the lake. Carlino carried a large amount of snow with him down the cliff and Johnson said today it was impossible to tell whether the man had gone into the lake. The accident occurred about 8:30 p.m. An eight-man rescue team from Grants Pass led by Bill Pruittt, worked until 11:30 p.m. yesterday and resumed the search today.
The rim wall is about 1,000 feet high in the area. Workers first probed the area immediately under the overhang, a large amount of which remains, Johnson said, then with poles continued on down the slide path and were near the lake’s edge about noon. Temperature in the area dropped to 20 degrees last night. 
April 7 1971 Nick Carlino’s body found in approximately five feet of water, encased in ice, near the base of the fatal avalanche.  His snowshoes were found floating at Cleetwood Cove after the Lake Trail was opened in the spring.









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