Rescuers lead 2 snowboarders off Mount Rainier

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 12:23 am •  Published: November 13, 2012
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They used a cellphone to call 911 and said they were digging a snow cave for protection.

The two weren't equipped to stay overnight. However, they said they were cold but OK when they used the cellphone to check in again Monday morning before its battery died.

Rescuers spotted the pair Monday at about the 7,000-foot level below McClure Rock on the lower Paradise glacier. They were about a half-mile from the two — close enough to wave — but were forced back by nightfall and dangerous conditions.

Thirty rescuers working in five-member teams went out Tuesday through snow 2 to 4 feet deep, Snook said. It was so soft members had to take turns "swimming through the snow" to break a trail.

The weather was better than expected Tuesday with patches of clear sky at the park, where heavy snow is not unusual.

"This is what happens on Mount Rainier," Snook said. "This is why people use Mount Rainier to train for Mount Everest."

In January, four people disappeared in snowstorms on the mountain, which draws between 1.5 million and 2 million visitors each year. The bodies of three of them were found over the summer after snow melted.


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