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Half Dome climber rescued

Wed., Feb. 25, 2009

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – An experienced South Korean mountain climber was caught in an avalanche on Yosemite National Park’s iconic Half Dome and was stranded overnight with a broken leg on the granite monolith before he was rescued Tuesday.

Jun Ho Wang, 38, was swept more than 100 yards down a rocky approach to the granite face and into an icy low-lying gully Monday afternoon. A fellow climber stayed with him overnight and on Tuesday morning – about 16 hours later – he was plucked from the northwest face of Half Dome by a helicopter crew and flown to safety.

“Most people in an avalanche don’t survive,” said Eric Gabriel, an incident commander for the search and rescue team.

Wang was flown to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto to be treated for a fracture in his left wrist and multiple breaks in his left leg, and was in stable condition by Tuesday afternoon.

A National Park Service rescue team attempted to reach the area Monday afternoon, but continuing small avalanches prevented the group from reaching Wang, said park ranger David Pope, one of the rescue team members.

“A lot of the snow is melting, so it’s triggering mini-avalanches,” he said.

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