One hiker rescued, one still missing on Mt. Shasta |

One hiker rescued, one still missing on Mt. Shasta

MOUNT SHASTA — A California man was rescued Monday from Mount Shasta, but his climbing partner remains missing and is believed to be trapped near the summit, where stormy conditions restricted search operations.

Mark Thomas called 911 Sunday to report that he and his friend were near the top of the 14-thousand-foot mountain and needed help.

The 26-year-old told authorities his friend was disoriented and appeared to have altitude sickness.

Susan Gravenkamp, a spokeswoman at the Siskiyou County Sheriff Department, says Thomas, of Berkeley, left 26-year-old Thomas Bennett of Oakland and walked down the mountain for help.

Gravenkamp says high winds and storm conditions prohibited rescuers from reaching the top of the mountain Monday. Storms are forecast for the mountain until Thursday, and it’s unclear when rescuers would be able to search for Bennett.

U.S. Forest Service rangers found Thomas Monday afternoon. He had frostbite on one finger but declined medical attention.

Rescuers say winds on the mountain were blowing 60-70 mph, dropping overnight temperatures at the peak to well below freezing. The wind was so forceful it was blowing snow and creating whiteout conditions while turning the mountain’s surface into hard-pack ice.

The conditions forced rescuers to turn back Monday after reaching the 9,000-foot level, well below the summit.

Thomas said he and Bennett had established a camp several thousand feet below the summit, so they did not have their tent with them when the storm set in. He believes the remaining hiker is huddled in a snow cave.

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