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Four others, however, never made it off the mountain — Mark Vucich, Michele Trojanowski, Eric Yang and Seal Hee Jin. One body has still not been found.
Johnson knows only too well how lucky they were.
"The mountain doesn't discriminate; it takes whoever — the inexperienced, the young, the old, the experienced, anybody and anyone, it just doesn't discriminate," says Johnson.
"It was just our luck and our good fortune that it wasn't our time to go."
Perhaps, she suggests in an attempt to make some sense of the situation, she was spared to tell their story, to teach others about their mistakes.
She will never travel without a stove to heat water, never without a bivvy for shelter. She will always leave more detailed plans of her trips, rather than saying "they'll be in the mountains."
But perhaps most of all, it's not what she lost on the Mount Rainier that weekend, but what she found, that will change her life forever.
As she plans her trip to Whistler she says: "My sweetheart, who was my absolute hero through all of that, has continued to be my hero in more ways than just being strong and helping me survive through a blizzard."
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