Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

October 24, 2012

Yosemite rangers make daring rescue on El Capitan

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — A Canadian climber stranded in a snowstorm was recuperating Tuesday from a mild case of hypothermia after Yosemite National Park rangers rescued him from the face of the largest granite monolith in the world.

The 40-year-old climber was stuck 230 below the summit of iconic El Capitan late Sunday and unable to deploy a rain-deflecting cover when California's first winter snowstorm of the season struck, park officials said. Temperatures dipped into the 20s, as four to six inches of snow fell.

The name of the climber has not been released, but he and a climbing partner began ascending a route known as Muir Wall on Oct. 14. They were due to reach the top on Sunday night ahead of the storm.

The lead climber made it to the 7,569-foot summit, but the second climber was stranded after his rope became stuck.

With weather keeping the park's helicopter grounded, rangers were forced to hike to the summit in snow and ice on Monday to rescue the climber.

Once there, ranger Ben Doyle and rescue crew member Matt Othmer lowered ranger Aaron Smith to the climber, who was suffering then from exhaustion and mild hypothermia. After rigging ropes and anchors, they were able to haul him to the top.

They did not make their way back to the Yosemite Valley floor until 10 p.m. Monday. The climber was taken to a hospital, where he was in good condition, authorities said.

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