• Two climbers rescued from Alaska mountain
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     | May 29,2006
     

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two Korean climbers were rescued from a mountain after being stranded near its summit for more than a day without food or shelter, officials said.

    Whang Cheung Sik and Hong Sung Hyun, both 35, were flown by helicopter Saturday evening to the base camp at the bottom of Mount Hunter, the third-highest peak in Denali National Park, officials said. Rescue efforts had been delayed because of severe winds.

    The climbers were fatigued and dehydrated, but were in relatively good condition despite exposure to high winds and overnight temperatures near 5 degrees, park officials said.

    The men somehow became separated Friday evening as they neared the top of a challenging route known as "Deprivation," said park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin.

    Neither had a sleeping bag or tent, and each took shelter in crevasses to keep warm, McLaughlin said.

    Park rangers spoke at least twice by radio with Whang, who communicated his position and condition through a translator. At 5 p.m. Saturday, Whang said the winds had calmed enough for a rescue helicopter to land safely.

    The men had been climbing Friday with three other people, who were already waiting at the base camp.

    There were no other climbers on the mountain, which is much less popular than neighboring Mount McKinley, McLaughlin said.

    About 25 to 50 people climb the 14,400-foot Mount Hunter each year, she said. Last year, a record 1,340 climbers attempted the 20,320-foot McKinley, North America's highest peak.

    A man survived a 2,600-foot fall off McKinley while attempting to ski down a treacherous gully nicknamed the "Orient Express," park officials said.

    Ed Maginn, 34, of Salt Lake City, was flown off the mountain Friday afternoon and was treated at an Anchorage hospital.

    , they said.

    "I feel rough, but nothing's broken, and I'm getting around," Maginn told the Anchorage Daily News. "I thought I was dead."

    Maginn said he and two friends were skiing late Thursday when he hit a snow drift around 18,300 feet and fell.

    "Two times I hit incredibly hard," he said. "I wanted the next one to be the death blow."

    Maginn's fall ended at 15,700 feet. His friends were sure it was fatal, as did rangers they contacted by radio at a camp at 14,200 feet.

    Rangers found Maginn as he was walking toward the camp, park officials said.

    "He's pretty banged up for sure," McLaughlin said. "I don't think we have any doubt that he fell an incredibly long distance."

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