The long wait is over for the grieving loved ones of mountain climber Mark Mahaney of St. Paul, who’s been missing since late May.
Mahaney’s body was positively identified after his and two other bodies were recovered from Mount Rainier in Washington state on Wednesday. Three more climbers in their party, including two guides, remain missing and are presumed dead.
The bodies were high on a glacier on one of the most treacherous spots on Mount Rainier, in an area often pummeled by falling rocks and ice. Authorities believe the group fell 3,300 feet on the 14,410-foot peak.
Mahaney, formerly of Prior Lake, has already been declared legally dead and his services were in June. His family couldn’t be reached Saturday for comment.
In June, Mahaney’s family issued a statement saying he had reached the summit of Mount Rainier in 2013 but was determined to return and complete the most difficult and technically challenging route, the Liberty Ridge, a sharp crest on the north face.
“Prior to the incident that claimed Mark’s life as well as the five others in his group, they completed the technically challenging portion that makes Liberty Ridge so respected,” his family had written.
He also has climbed Mount McKinley in Alaska.
“Mark’s young life may have tragically ended, but his loved ones take solemn joy in knowing Mark was participating in his true passion in life, climbing,” his family had said.
For the tricky recovery Wednesday, park rangers borrowed a rarely used mechanical claw from their counterparts at Denali National Park in Alaska, and a helicopter equipped with the claw plucked the three bodies off the mountain, close to where the six had disappeared in May.
Friday, the Pierce County, Wash., medical examiners identified the bodies as that of Mahaney, Uday Marty of Singapore and John Mullally of Seattle, who were both 40.
In a Facebook post in mid-April, Mahaney had mapped the ascent up the mountain’s steep north side, predicting “nothing will be easy on this climb.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.