Limited search continues for Olympic High School grad caught in avalanche

Search crews at Mt. Rainier National Park will continue looking for an Olympic High School graduate who they believe was buried in an avalanche Saturday.

According to eyewitnesses, Mark Wedeven, 27, of Olympia, was climbing the southeast side of the mountain and was caught in an avalanche early Saturday morning, said park spokesman Kevin Bacher.

Ten other climbers were later rescued, but park officials believe Wedeven remains buried.

Wedever graduated from Olympic in 1999.

With avalanche warnings still in effect, Bacher said the park can only continue with limited searches.

"We anticipate that over the next few weeks we will continue to search as we have the resources available to do so," he said.

Park rangers warned climbers of a high risk for an avalanche, Bacher said. Wedeven however did not submit a climbing permit and rangers didn't know he was on the mountain.

"We do know that he was not among those that were warned," Bacher said, adding that climbing permits are mandatory to keep track of who is on the mountain.

Bacher said rangers are still not completely sure Wedeven was caught in the avalanche, but his rental car remains in a park parking lot and his family has filed a missing persons report.

The avalanche occurred near Ingraham Glacier Direct, a popular route for climbers, Bacher said.

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