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Helicopter Plucks Climbers Near Mount Rainier Summit

Group was stranded for days
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 6, 2019 5:46 PM CDT
Four climbers had been stranded on Mount Rainier in Washington for several days.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(Newser) – A helicopter crew has rescued four climbers from near the summit of Mount Rainier after they had been stranded on the Cascade Mountain peak in Washington for several days. The National Park Service said in a statement that the climbers were suffering from exposure and were taken to hospitals, the AP reports. On Thursday morning, rescuers in the park's helicopter took advantage of a break in bad weather and took the men off the mountain in two groups, officials said. The park had received a report Monday afternoon that the climbers needed help because wind blew away or destroyed a tent and some of their climbing equipment. After high winds thwarted rescue attempts Monday and Tuesday, park officials requested an Army Chinook helicopter and crew, which arrived Tuesday. High winds, rain, and cloud cover stymied both crews until Thursday, park officials said.

The park helicopter was able to land near the four climbers in a space between Liberty Cap and Columbia Crest on the mountain, according to a news release. They had started out on May 31; high winds later forced them to stop on the Liberty Ridge route. "It's a place that is on a narrow ridge that goes up the north side of the mountain—very, very steep, very technical in terms of climbing ability, which is why very few people climb the mountain by this route," a Mount Rainier National Park spokesman told ABC last month. But it's also "a uniquely beautiful" route, he said. (Last year, river waters swept a hiker to her death in the park.)

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