Climber rescued after days trapped on Mount Rainier: ‘You just have to keep going’

SEATTLE -- Four climbers stranded on Mount Rainier were brought down to safety Thursday morning after being stuck there for four days.

One of those climbers, Yev Krasnitskiy, spoke about his experience after days of not knowing whether or not he was ever getting down from 13,000 feet.  He said they had been planning the trip since December, and they were very prepared.

What they weren't prepared for was a storm arriving a day early, losing essential climbing gear and getting stranded on a remote area of Rainier.

"We just hear rocks or ice or snow, something is falling and then it just starts hitting us," Krasnitskiy said. "There are people out there that care about us that have no idea, that are just going through more pain probably than we were."

He was rescued along with three other climbers early this morning.  They began their ascent Friday; a storm came through Sunday night and stranded them.

"My backpack had slid down the slope, unfortunately it got ripped out with the anchor, so we lost a bunch of stuff," Krasnitskiy said. "Lost one sleeping bag, lost my backpack; had a shovel in it so we lost that, had a GPS in there so we lost that. Just not expecting the wind, it was supposed to come on Monday but not Sunday night."

The four men were left with only hope that someone was coming for them.

"We are here, we are alive" Krasnitskiy said. "It's miserable, but we are alive and it's gonna end at some point."

Rescue crews reached the group in one of the most remote parts of the mountain along Liberty Ridge after multiple attempts to get to them.

"They tried to swoop in and land but they just couldn’t get in there because the wind was just blowing," Krasnitskiy said.

The weather and terrain posed too big of a threat each day.

"So we went up the weather was... deteriorating," Krasnitskiy said. "we got hit by this gale, so for about 4 hours we just hunkered down with our two sleeping bags that we had left over."

The men met the crews half way, so to speak, climbing to a place where the helicopter could lift them to safety.

"You can’t just settle down and let it happen to you, you have to go until you can’t go no more," Krasnitskiy said. "That’s just life, you just have to keep going."

He says he won't be able to climb for a while because he has frostbite.

This is the second incident involving climbers needing to be saved from Mount Rainier in just over a week. A climber was killed and two others were injured last week in a rockfall on their way to the summit.

Park officials remind people to be prepared for the worst when attempting to summit a mountain like Rainier.

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