SEATTLE -- Two snowboarders who spent two nights stranded on Mount Rainier after getting lost in a snowstorm have been reunited with family after a difficult rescue.
After a two-day rescue effort involving 30 personnel from multiple agencies, rescuers reached Derek Tyndall, 21, and Thomas "Goober" Dale, 20, early Tuesday morning.
By afternoon, the two made their way down the mountain, where happy family members and friends were waiting.
Recounting how they survived the two nights, the snowboarders said they had found a snow cave the first night, dug themselves one the second night and for food they shared a small bag of Ritz crackers and found a stream for some drinking water.
But they said all they needed to survive was each other and a positive attitude.
"It was just a matter of that will power and wanting to survive, finding that thing to look forward to really kept me going," said Dale.
"The first night we were pretty good because we were in the crevasse/cave thing," said Tyndall. "We had our snowboards blocking the northeast wind. The second night was a little bit more difficult."
National Park spokeswoman Lee Snook says the two were able to snowshoe out with rescuers who reached them Tuesday morning.
The fresh snow was so deep on Mount Rainier that rescuers had to "swim" through it to make progress, a national park spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Snowboarders got caught in storm
The men went snowboarding Sunday and were caught off guard by a storm that rolled in with whiteout and blizzard conditions. They took shelter in a cave, at 7,500 feet, but only brought equipment and supplies for a day trip.
The two likely started out from Paradise, an area that Mt. Rainer officials say received 20 inches of snow and rain overnight. They called 9-1-1 early Monday and were able to give authorities their location near McClure rock.
About two dozen rescue crew personnel from Tacoma and Olympic Search and Rescue helped out.