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Strong winds delay effort to recover ranger's body from Mount Rainier

Efforts to recover the body of climbing ranger Nick Hall, who fell to his death a week ago off Mount Rainier, were cancelled Thursday because of strong winds, according to media reports.

Officials at Mount Rainier National Park, about 70 miles southwest of Seattle, said they had been confident about recovering Hall's body because of clear weather and lower avalanche risk, The Associated Press reported

The AP reported officials will try again if winds subside Thursday afternoon.

"We want to recover Nick as soon as it is safe to do so," park Superintendent Randy King told NBC station KING5 in Seattle. "Conditions must be stable before it is safe to put recovery teams on the mountain."

Hall, 34, died June 21 after falling 2,500 feet from a glacier on the mountain during the rescue of four injured climbers.

Hall was part of the first team that responded to the report about the climbers, who had fallen at the 11,000-foot level on the mountain's northeast side. He was helping with the helicopter rescue when he fell. 

Rangers hoped to get Hall's body off the mountain Wednesday during a break in the weather, but clouds and avalanche danger prevented that. But improved weather conditions Thursday are allowing helicopters to fly, KING5 reported. 

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"This is a bad circumstance that led to a tragedy, and the tragedy’s gotta stop," Nick's brother Aaron Hall told KING5 in urging caution on the recovery. "It’s not going to change the outcome any longer and safety is paramount."  

Hall, originally from Maine, was a four-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park's climbing ranger program.

His death is the second of a ranger at Mount Rainier this year. In January, Margaret Anderson was shot by a gunman on New Year's Day after trying to stop his vehicle in the park. The gunman was later found dead. 

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