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Avalanche, California, Yosemite National Park, Half Dome

AVALANCHE

California, Yosemite National Park, Half Dome

On Sunday, March 15, an experienced South Korean mountain climber Jun Ho Wang (38) was on his way down for more supplies to support his team’s winter attempt on Half Dome when he was swept more than 100 meters down a rocky approach to the granite face by an avalanche. Two friends who were nearby tended to him and cut Wang a flat ledge the size of a twin bed out of the ice topping the rock where he could rest wrapped in three sleeping bags. He endured about 16 hours in an icy, low-lying gully before he was plucked from the monolith by a helicopter crew Tuesday morning and flown to safety.

Park officials said he was alert and responsive. Wang was flown to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto to be treated for a fractured left wrist and multiple breaks in his left leg. He was in a stable condition by Tuesday afternoon, according to hospital staff.

Analysis

“Most people in an avalanche don’t survive,” said Eric Gabriel, an incident commander for the search and rescue team. “This gentleman not only survived a 100-meter slide, but survived through the night in freezing temperatures.” “It could have been a lot worse, but he was well prepared,” said Sean Pence, a manager at Yosemite Medical Clinic, where Wang was evaluated before being flown out of the park. “He had great equipment and his equipment probably saved his life.” (Source From an AP post and John Dill, NPS Ranger, Yosemite National Park)