Snowboarders spend 2nd night stuck on Mount Rainier in storm

By Adam Lynn, The (Tacoma) News TribuneNovember 13, 2012 

LONGMIRE, Wash. -- Rescue teams couldn't reach two snowboarders Monday on Mount Rainier after the men had already spent one night there stranded by a storm that brought heavy snows to the Cascades.

Rescuers spotted two people matching the descriptions of Thomas Dale and Derek Tyndall on Paradise Glacier about half a mile away, but couldn't reach them, said Kevin Bacher, a spokesman for Mount Rainier National Park.

Poor weather and nightfall kept searchers from rescuing the two, Bacher said.

The search was called off at 7 p.m. and was set to resume at first light.

Dale, 20, and Tyndall, 21, called 911 about 4:30 p.m. Sunday to report they were lost in blizzard-like conditions on the mountain. Park officials said as much as 20 inches of snow fell in the Paradise area overnight.

The pair apparently dug out a snow cave and hunkered down for the first cold night, park officials reported. They had winter gear and cell phones but no overnight gear.

Officials were in touch with them Monday morning, and they reported being cold but in good shape, the park reported.

Four search teams totaling 28 people were dispatched to look for them. They were helped by two search dogs from Kitsap County, and Bacher said more searchers are expected today.

The teams began searching in the area of McClure Rock at about 7,500 feet, based on landmarks Tyndall and Dale relayed to park officials.

It appeared the men left that location some time Monday and were trying to hike down when they were spotted on Paradise Glacier about 3 p.m., Bacher said.

It took rescuers several hours to circle around due to steep terrain, and they weren't able to reach the individuals, but they seemed to be in good condition and match the descriptions of the snowboarders, Bacher said.

Forecasters said 8 inches to nearly 2 feet of snow fell in the central Cascades from noon Sunday to about noon Monday. Temperatures dipped below 20 degrees Sunday night, and winds gusted to more than 60 miles per hour.

More snow is expected in the Mount Rainier area throughout the week with accumulations of 3 to 5 inches expected today, the National Weather Service reported.

* Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com

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