2 hikers still stranded on mountain


by By KING Staff


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 28 at 8:29 AM

Video: Two hikers stranded on mountain ledge

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A man and woman were stranded overnight on a narrow ledge in the North Cascades. They reportedly made it off the ledge and onto a glacier by Thursday afternoon.

Sheriff's Search and Rescue spokesman Joel Pratt said the hikers, 33-year-old Matthew Edwards and 27-year-old Robin Gibson, both from Wisconsin, called Wednesday night to say they were stuck at about 6,000 feet in the area of Spire Point, east of Darrington.

Pratt said Edwards and Gibson set out on the trail on Sunday and were descending when they lost much of their gear down the side of the mountain.

A Navy helicopter tried to reach them Wednesday night but deteriorating weather conditions forced the crew to return to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. They did manage to drop off a rescue crew Thursday who were trying to reach the hikers.

A specialized team from Pierce County was headed up to search for the hikers and helicopters from NAS Whidbey and from Fairchild Air Force base in Spokane are assisting.

Search and rescue staff are worried about hypothermia.

"The clothes that they had for dry clothes were in their packs. They're currently just wearing what they were wearing on their day hike, and they've been through several rain storms by now and one full evening," said Deputy Brad Holmes.

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office says if the weather has not cleared enough to allow for an air rescue.

Rescuers were able to talk the couple through a climb that took them up 200 feet to a safer area. They're on a ridge on Dana Glacier, a more secure area that has shelter and wind cover with a more stable ground.

Ground rescuers are believed to be about 500 feet below the stranded hikers. They all will have to spend another night on the mountain.