Avalanche Strands Climber on Half Dome

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- An experienced South Korean mountain climber was rescued Tuesday from Yosemite National Park's iconic Half Dome, after he was swept more than 100 meters down a rock face by an avalanche.

Jun Ho Wang, 38, was caught in an avalanche Monday afternoon, and endured about 16 hours in an icy low-lying gully before he was plucked from the northwest face of the granite monolith by a helicopter crew Tuesday morning and flown to safety.

Yosemite Medical Clinic staff said he was alert and responsive, and survived with only a few broken bones.

"It could have been a lot worse, but he was well prepared," clinic manager Sean Pence said. "He had great equipment and his equipment probably saved his life."

Wang was flown to Doctor's Medical Clinic in Modesto to be treated for a fracture in his left wrist and multiple breaks in his left leg, Pence said.

Wang had been stranded since Monday afternoon, when falling snow and ice separated him from his seven-person climbing party, Yosemite spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman said.

One of the other climbers radioed for help after getting off the mountain.

Freeman said the experienced climber was well-equipped and able to hunker down in his sleeping bag as temperatures dipped below freezing Tuesday morning.

"His vitals were very strong when he left, but he obviously had a traumatic night in the cold out there," Freeman said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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