(NEW YORK) — After two freezing nights trapped 7,000 feet up Washington’s icy Mount Rainier, two close pals are now able to laugh about their experience after telling of their own will power to survive.
Derek Tyndall, 21, and his friend Thomas Dale, 20, came to the mountain for a snowboarding adventure, but ended up lost in a snowstorm Sunday. They were soaking wet and worried that making it one more day might not be possible when they were rescued on Tuesday.
“[We] got caught in a few avalanches and then got diverted. And then kind of staked it out for two days until we could get a hold of the rangers,” Tyndall told reporters.
The two friends from Indiana called 911 with only a faint signal on a dwindling cell phone battery, and did their best to hunker down for shelter by digging into the side of the mountain.
“On the second night we dug in probably 4 feet and then up 4 feet, and then laid our snowboards flat, and that’s what we slept on,” Tyndell said.
Between the two of them they had little more than a handful of crackers to eat, and they melted snow for water. But they managed to stay positive and added an unforgettable bond to an already tight friendship.
“It was just a matter of that will power of ‘I’m going to survive. Finding that thing to look forward to that keeps you going, that was the big thing,” Dale said.
Rescue teams braved the dangers of avalanches as they waded through chest-high snow on Mount Rainier today to rescue the two men. Visual contact was believed to have been made with the men on Monday, Lee Smook, a spokesperson for Mount Rainier National Park said, but rescue teams could not reach them before darkness.
The two laughed as they admitted Wednesday morning that to keep warm throughout the ordeal “there was a little bit of spooning.”
Tyndell joked, “what happens in the cave, stays in the cave.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire