On a clear day most of us see the beauty of Mount Rainier. But the family of Ranger Nick Hall now sees its darker more menacing side.
“It’s beautifully painful,” said Aaron Hall, Nick Hall’s brother. “We know they’re going to get him.”
Rangers thought they'd get Hall off this mountain Wednesday, finally a break in the weather. But extreme avalanche danger is the concern now-- a frustration for Ranger Hall’s friends and his family who came out here from Maine.
“This is a bad circumstance that led to a tragedy and the tragedy’s gotta stop. It’s not going to change the outcome any longer and safety is paramount,” said Aaron Hall.
Aaron, flanked by his wife and his father, talked about the day Nick first met the mountain. It was love at first sight.
“Nick went skiing that day and never stopped,” recalled Aaron.
Nick was living his version of the American dream until last Thursday at the 11,000-foot level of Mount Rainier at Emmons Glacier. He was helping rescue four climbers in trouble when he fell 2,500 feet.
“I’ll wrestle for the rest of my life why that was Nick’s moment,” said Aaron.
Yet Nick’s family harbors no blame. Instead they find comfort knowing Nick died doing what he loved.
“Someone with millions of dollars in their pocket didn’t live as much as Nick did. His empty pockets had a lot of wealth in there,” said Aaron. “He has a little different version of the ‘American Dream’ and he’s not all about making money, building portfolios and buying a home like many of us are. Those are important things, but that wasn’t Nick. He was about cutting straight to the spirit of what he wanted in life.”
Nick’s father, Carter Hall, read through his tears from a statement he prepared to honor his son.
“I have had to contemplate recently little Nick. How could you get so big? We have been proud of you, yes, and you are our hero,” said Carter.
Recovery teams hope conditions improve Thursday, when they will try again to reach Ranger Hall's remains.
'We want to recover Nick as soon as it is safe to do so," said Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King. "Conditions must be stable before it is safe to put recovery teams on the mountain."
A private memorial service is scheduled for Friday, June 29 at 10 am at the Paradise Visitor’s Center.
A memorial fund has been set up for Nick Hall's family through the National Park Foundation.