Wash. Firefighters Honor Colleague, Climber with Hike

June 04--Three Auburn firefighters hiked to Camp Muir on June 3 in honor of a firefighter who died on Liberty Ridge 10 years ago.

At Camp Muir, high above the clouds, the men unfurled a banner that usually hangs in Valley Regional Fire Authority Station 31. The banner is emblazoned with a quote that was regularly used by Capt. Jon Cahill: "Train like you fight ... Fight like you train."

Cahill, who lived in Orting, died June 3, 2004, when he slipped and fell on Liberty Ridge. He was one of four men who died on that route that spring.

Last week, six men died on Liberty Ridge in the second worst mountaineering accident in Mount Rainier National Park history. In total, 26 climbers have died on Liberty Ridge.

Firefighters Jeremy Nylund, Neil Pedersen and Ryan Shervanick have a passion for mountaineering and thought a trip to Muir was a fitting way to honor Cahill, according to a statement released by the Valley Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1352.

"He (Cahill) was revered and respected for his enthusiasm for training," the statement read. "Jon may have left us 10 years ago but his spirit is alive and well here at the fire houses of the Valley Regional Fire Authority."

Cahill is survived by his wife, Debbie, and his children, Michael, Matthew, Katie and Kelly.

Copyright 2014 - The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)