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Snowboarders stuck on Mount Rainier finally off mountain

Two snowboarders stranded for several days on Mount Rainier slowly made their way back to safety with deep snow slowing their return.

The two snowboarders, Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas Dale, 20 finally made it off the mountain with the help of rescue crews around 4 p.m.

The snowboarders didn’t appear to have frostbite or other injuries when rescuers reached them around 11 a.m., spokeswoman Lee Snook said.

Snook said the group is descending the mountain on snowshoes.

Six five-member teams went out Tuesday morning. Each was led by a ranger. Team members included mountain rescue volunteers from Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.

The snowboarders were spotted by rescue crews on Monday. But they were unable to reach them before darkness and weather forced them back.

Snook said the rescuers had to take turns “swimming” through snow 2 to 4 feet deep. She said difficult conditions and avalanche danger slowed the rescue effort.

“It’s chest high snow, so just breaking trail to get to the area will be difficult,” Snook said. “They’re taking their time and making sure they’re aware of where each team is at so they don’t trigger an avalanche onto another group.”

Rescue crews headed toward the spot near McClure Rock where the two men were spotted Monday. Rescuers and the snowboarders had been within a half-mile and waving at each other.

Tyndall and Dale first called for help from a cell phone Sunday when they got lost in a descent from Camp Muir during a heavy snow storm. The men said they had a compass, phones, and winter gear, but nothing for spending the night.

There was contact via cell phone Monday morning. Besides being cold the two men reported they were in good condition. Further contact by cell phone was not possible.

More than two dozen people tried to reach them on Monday. But fresh snow and darkness led the search to be called back until morning. There was little snowfall overnight Monday.

The snowboarders were able to give the climbers a good idea of where they were stuck by describing nearby landmarks.

KIRO Radio’s Brandi Kruse and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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