Climber missing since Sunday found dead in snow cave on Mount Shasta

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on April 1, 2010 6:02 pm

Rangers found the body of 26-year-old Thomas Bennett of Oakland in a snow cave this morning, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said.

Reports SF Gate, Mark Thomas, his hiking partner, said that after the pair began their descent from the 14,162-foot summit, Bennett suffered sudden and extreme symptoms of altitude sickness and became unresponsive within minutes.

Rescuers had been trying to reach Bennett since Mark had called 911 Sunday to report Bennet’s condition. Mark was unable to carry Bennett in the whiteout conditions. The two experienced climbers were trapped overnight by severe winds. Continued severe weather frustrated rescue helicopter attempts earlier this week.

Thomas said he left Bennett in a snow cave with water, candy bars and granola. He was able to show authorities Bennett’s location on a map.

The seven-man search and rescue team encountered heavy snow and high winds Thursday. Rescuers were able to locate the snow cave by spotting a black avalanche marker described by Thomas, according to the Aspen Times.