Q: Many people getting into trouble up there are out-of-staters. Any chance that they're more willing to take chances because they consider their time here to be their only shot?
A: Very possibly. Many experienced Rainier climbers who run into bad conditions on a route will call it quits and come back as soon as things improve. Fewer options are open to those who travel a long way to get here.
Some veteran Rainier climbers say snow conditions on the mountain this spring — especially on the north-side Liberty Ridge route — are worse than anytime in recent memory. Thus, they're staying away. As they like to say: The mountain will always be there.
Of course, that's what they used to say about Mount St. Helens, too.