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1. Mount Rainier is located in the southeastern part of Washington State. It is the highest mountain in the Cascade Mountain Range with a summit elevation of about 14,000 feet. It has 26 major glaciers and two volcanic craters with diameters of over 1,000 feet each.
2. Mount Rainier is an active volcano that could be devastating to local communities if it erupted, but there have been no signs of eruption potential in recent years. Its icy peaks are regularly seen by commuters on interstate 5 in Seattle, and on very clear days, the summit is visible from Portland, Oregon.
3. Mountain climbing is very difficult due to the large glaciers, and almost every year, a few people lose their lives in the attempt. It takes at least two to three days to reach the summit, and hikers must have experience traversing glaciers and surviving in the wilderness.
4. The mountain is infamous for its sudden snowstorms and blizzards which can create avalanches and make the mountain impassable, trapping hikers who are already at high elevations. In January of 2012, four people disappeared in mountain snowstorms. Three of their bodies were recovered during the summer thaw.
5. Also in the summer, a Mount Rainier ranger lost his life while trying to rescue four climbers who had fallen on a glacier. He slid down the mountain over 3,000 feet to his death. The climbers were saved by others on the rescue team and their injuries were not life-threatening.
6. Last November, two twenty year old snowboarders became trapped by a snowstorm. They were stranded on the mountain for days before a rescue team was able to reach them. Rescuers had to literally swim through the snow to create a trail to the snowboarders. Both survived and were not injured.
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