Missing Mt. Whitney hikers found alive

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Three mountain climbers who had been missing for 4-1/2 days on Mt. Whitney were found uninjured by Thursday and transported to a regional Inyo County hospital for medical examinations.

The three Omaha men -- Phillip Michael Abraham, 34; Stevan James Filips, 43; and Dale Clymens, 45 -– were found in a crude rock-and-steel shelter on the summit of the tallest mountain in the Lower 48 states, according to Brandy O’Conner, Abraham’s girlfriend.


“This is awesome news,” O’Conner said in an interview Thursday. “They climbed the mountain on Monday, but after reaching the summit they were hit by 3 feet of snow and treacherous winds.”

O’Conner had been text-messaging Abraham but lost contact with him at 10:28 a.m. Monday, she said. “I didn’t get a text from him until today at 11: 40 a.m. He said, ‘I love you.’ ”

About 45 people had been assigned to the rescue operation, which also used helicopters, according to the National Park Service.

But hazardous weather and the snow accumulation hampered operations, park officials said.

“On Wednesday, rescue rangers got as close as a mile away from their shelter,” O’Conner said, “but they were forced to turn around.”

“We have flights home for them on standby,” she added.

-- Louis Sahagun

Michael Abraham, left, Dale Clymens, and Stevan James Filips.