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Searchers Rescue Three Overdue Skiers Following Major Storm

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avatar Searchers Rescue Three Overdue Skiers Following Major Storm
April 21, 2010 09:58AM
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Searchers Rescue Three Overdue Skiers Following Major Storm

On April 6th, three skiers were reported overdue when they failed to return from an ambitious trans-Sierra ski trip through the park. Investigation revealed that Fresno-area residents Mike Beers, Eric Snyder and Ryan Soares had been dropped off at the Shepherd Pass trailhead outside of Independence, California, on April 1st and that they planned to conclude their trip at Wolverton on April 5th. All three were well outfitted and very experienced in winter backcountry travel, though none of the three had attempted the route before. They were carrying maps, a compass, a GPS unit, and food for five days. A major winter storm hit the central Sierra Nevada mountains on April 4th, bringing with it more than four feet of snow, winds exceeding 100 mph, and temperatures around 0° Fahrenheit. Due to the hazardous weather and the party's being 24 hours overdue with a limited food supply, a search was begun. The winter caretaker at the Pear Lake Ski Hut began a ground search on April 6th, but reported no sightings of the overdue party and no tracks along their route in the Pear Lake area. On April 7th, a helicopter was ordered and assigned to fly the group's route and check locations where others had historically encountered problems. At approximately 11 a.m., the helicopter crew spotted the party just southwest of Colby Pass. The men were in good condition, but three to four days behind on their itinerary due to the recent storm and low on supplies. The party was evacuated to Ash Mountain by helicopter.
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