Bay Area Man Stranded on Mount Shasta Feared Dead

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010  |  Updated 10:33 AM PDT
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Bay Area Man Stranded on Mount Shasta Feared Dead

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The profile picture on Mark Thomas's Facebook page.

Rescuers are waiting for a break in stormy conditions at Northern California's Mount Shasta to look for a missing Bay Area climber believed to be trapped near the summit. His climbing partner fears it's too late.

Berkeley native Mark Thomas, 26, (pictured) called 911 Sunday morning saying he and his friend were near the top of the 14,000-foot mountain and needed help. Thomas told authorities his friend, Thomas Bennett of Oakland was disoriented and appeared to have altitude sickness. Thomas said Bennett was unresponsive and he feared he was dead.

A spokeswoman for the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department says Thomas left Bennett in a snow cave with water, candy bars and granola and hiked down the mountain for help.

Forest service rangers found Thomas at about 4 p.m. Monday but high winds and the new storm are preventing rescuers from reaching the top of the mountain to look for Bennett.

Thomas's Facebook page shows he's an avid climber. He graduated from Skyline High School in 2002, went to Cal and eventually got a master's degree in structural engineering  from UC Berkeley in 2009.

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