Climber Vanishes Near Mount Rainier Summit

ASHFORD, Wash. -- A National Parks spokeswoman says a search in under way for a 57-year-old climber who vanished near the Mount Rainier summit.

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor says Eric Lewis of Duvall, Wash., was ascending with two other partners when they stopped to rest and regroup. When they pulled the rope, they discovered Lewis had unclipped and was nowhere to be seen. The group was almost at the 14,000-foot level of the mountain.

The climbing partners searched the nearby area, but could not find him. Searchers located Lewis' backpack and shovel at 13,600 feet and a snow cave at 13,800 feet.

Incident Commander Glenn Kessler says two helicopters from Fort Lewis are assisting the search as well dozen skilled climbers.

The weather is overcast with heavy cloud layer.