Stranded Shasta climber feared dead at summit

MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — The climbing partner of a man stranded near the summit of Mount Shasta fears he is dead as stormy conditions prevent rescue teams from searching for a second day.

Mark Thomas, of Berkeley, was rescued Monday after he walked down the mountain for help. He told rescuers that his friend, Thomas Bennett, was unresponsive and he was afraid he was dead.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp says rescuers don't know for sure about Bennett's condition. She says rescue helicopters are on standby in case of a break in the weather.

The forecast calls for snow until Thursday, when light winds and sun are predicted.

Thomas said he left Bennett, of Oakland, in a snow cave with water, candy bars and granola.

The two 26-year-olds were unable to descend from the 14,162-foot Northern California mountain after they encountered strong winds.

— Wire and staff reports

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