Mount Rainier National Park, WA — 4 climbers who have been stranded on Mt. Rainier since Monday, were airlifted from near the summit Thursday morning.  All four are alive but suffering from exposure to the cold according the Incident Command.

The Climbers, Yevgeniy Krasnitskiy from Portland, Ruslan Khasbulatov from New Jersey and Vasily Aushev and Constantine Toporov from New York started their ascent of Mount Rainier on Friday May 31st.  The climbers called 9-1-1 on Monday, June 3rd from the 13,500 foot level near the top of Liberty Ridge.  They had become stranded due to the weather conditions.

The park service attempted to rescue the climbers using a helicopter on Monday evening and twice on Tuesday the 4th, but were turned back by high winds.

A Chinook helicopter from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was called in for help, but clouds and wind also turned back their two rescue attempts.

Weather also prevented any aerial rescue attempts on Wednesday, June 5th.  Rangers prepared numerous contingency plans, including both air and ground rescue options to implement on Thursday if the opportunity arose.

At 9:15 A.M. Thursday, June 6th, a park helicopter was able to use a brief window of good weather and spotted the stranded climbers in the saddle between Liberty Cap and Columbia Crest.  That is about a 1/2 mile from the site where they had been last seen two days before.  The helicopter was able to land and fly them off the mountain in two groups.

All four were taken to local hospitals to be treated for exposure to the cold.

The Park Service says by moving that 1/2 mile away from the original site, the climbers contributed greatly to their own successful rescue.

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