- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota native who apparently died while climbing Mount Rainier had a passion for climbing and the outdoors, the man’s father said.

Searchers on Saturday recovered a body believed to be that of 25-year-old Kyle Bufis, formerly of Maple Grove. A helicopter had spotted the body of a deceased male climber near the summit.

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patti Wold confirmed Sunday that body is off the mountain. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office did not release the man’s identity Sunday morning, saying it was working on notifying next of kin.

Bufis, who lived in Springdale, Utah, was part of a three-climber team when he went missing during extreme weather near Liberty Saddle on Thursday night. The three got caught in high winds and whiteout conditions as they descended on the challenging Liberty Ridge route on the north flank of Mount Rainier, said Bufis’ father, Jeff Bufis of Maple Grove.

The three men hunkered down in a crevasse, only to discover their cook stove had been left at another stop about 50 meters up the mountain, Jeff Bufis told the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1G5d3BO ), based on information he got from others.

“Kyle volunteered to go get it,” he said. “That was the last time they saw him.”

The two other climbers managed to send a text for help and descend on their own to a base camp late Friday. Both were tired but in good physical condition, Wold said.

Searchers on Friday encountered high winds that stymied their efforts, Jeff Bufis said. The young man’s body was discovered, and later retrieved, on Saturday, his father said.

Kyle Bufis graduated from Maple Grove High School in 2008 and soon headed west and landed in Alamosa, Colorado, where he enrolled in Adams State University. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in Earth sciences, his father said.

He discovered his passion for climbing and the outdoors there, and was trained as a climbing instructor and in wilderness first aid, Jeff Bufis said.

“He was extremely well trained,” his father said.

Each year, about 10,000 people try to climb the 14,410-foot glaciated peak southeast of Seattle.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com


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