4 stranded climbers rescued near peak of Mt. Rainier

SEATTLE -- The four climbers who have been stranded near the peak of Mount Rainier since Monday have been rescued, according to the National Park Service.

Poor visibility and high winds hampered previous rescue attempts, but a break in the weather allowed a helicopter crew to rescue the party Thursday morning.

The NPS says it took two trips to rescue the four between Liberty Ridge and Columbia Crest. The climbers are alive but suffered from cold exposure, and they were flown to local hospitals.

Their names are Yevgeniy Krasnitskiy of Portland, Oregon; Ruslan Khasbulatov, of Jersey City, New Jersey; Vasily Aushev, of New York, New York; and Kostya “Constantine” Toporov, of New York, New York.

The park got reports of the climbers needing help on Monday after high winds blew away their tent and destroyed equipment.

A helicopter crew spotted the climbers near Liberty Ridge at an elevation of 13,500 feet, but the weather prevented an immediate rescue.

This is the same area where a rockfall killed a climber and stranded five others last week.

The NPS got help from a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter along with an Air Force pararescue team, but even they couldn’t rescue the climbers due to a combination of poor visibility and wind gusts between 30 to 50 mph.

The party started their trek last Friday, May 31 near the White River Campground.

The Liberty Ridge area was closed off during the rescue operation.