Search and rescue crews waded through chest-deep snow to find two snowboarders who became lost in a winter storm while descending from Mount Rainier's Camp Muir Sunday.
Rescue crews found Derek Tyndall, 20, and Thomas Dale, 21, at 11 a.m. in an area above Paradise Glacier. They rewarmed the men, who spent two nights camped out in a snow cave, before beginning to take them down the mountain.
The men called 911 from a cell phone at 4:30 p.m. Sunday to report they were lost and needed help. They told the 911 operator they had winter gear, smart phones and a compass, but no overnight gear.
According to search and rescue worker Kevin Bacher, the two called rescuers again Monday morning and reported that they spent the night in a snow cave. The two were cold, but in good condition, officials said.
At about 3 p.m. Monday, rescuers saw the two men, but ground crews were unable to reach them before darkness set in.
"One of the search teams made brief visual contact, from a distance of about half a mile, with two individuals who matched Tyndall and Dale’s description and seemed to be in good condition on the lower Paradise Glacier," the National Park Service said in a statement. "Due to the steep terrain, it took several hours for the search teams to circle around to the location, and deep, fresh snow slowed progress to half a mile per hour with searchers trading off to break trail.
"Attempts to locate or contact the individuals proved unsuccessful. The search was called off for the day about 7 (p.m.) as night, weather, low visibility, increasing avalanche danger, and dangerous terrain made continued efforts dangerous and unproductive.
"Search teams will renew their efforts at first light," the statement said.
The weather overnight Sunday was severe, with high winds and as much as 20 inches of fresh snow at Paradise.
National Park Service rescuers are being assisted by 18 members of Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue and two search dogs from Kitsap County. Aircraft are also being organized for deployment, officials said. Searchers utilized a combination of snowshoes and skis in the difficult conditions they found on the mountain.