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Last of missing Mt. Whitney hikers are safe

The National Park Service says two mountain climbers who were listed as missing after a snowstorm blanketed Mt. Whitney walked out of the wilderness area early Thursday morning.

Sina Sadeghi Baghsorkhin, 27, and his father, Abdolreza Sadeghi, 56, were uninjured when they left the area about 1 a.m., roughly 50 miles from their planned exit.

On Thursday, three hikers -- Phillip Michael Abraham, 34; Stevan James Filips, 43; and Dale Clymens, 45; all of Omaha -- were plucked off the mountain by a rescue crew in a helicopter. That group had taken refuge from a blinding snowstorm in a rock hut during a 3 1⁄2-day ordeal. Only one of them was carrying a sleeping bag, according to hikers who spoke with them.

More than 75 searchers combed the mountain area for the hikers, all of whom were marooned for several days in inclement weather after what began as day trips under clear-blue skies.

-- Louis Sahagun

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I've backpacked more than a dozen times in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and hiked several thousand miles in the most remote parts of the wilderness areas. Our party was several days late returning several times; not because we were in distress, but because our food reserves lasted longer than we anticipated and we extended our hikes to take advantage of our extra food supplies.

Even though all of our hikes were during the summer season, we endured freezing temperatures and rain, hail , snow, and lightning storms that most California residents cannot begin to imagine. Our families and friends were never concerned when we didn't return on the planned date. They were confident that we were prepared and could take care of ourselves.

Summer ended in the High Sierras six weeks ago and winter began two weeks ago. Anyone venturing into the high country during the last two weeks without full winter gear is a fool. None of them are "experienced hikers." If they were they would not be in the news.


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