Mountain climbers rescued after stomping SOS in the snow

Most backpackers visit Denali between late May and early September.

Story highlights

  • An avalanche strands two climbers on Mount Dickey in Alaska
  • They stomp "SOS" in the snow and attract a pilot's attention

(CNN)When an avalanche stranded two climbers on an Alaskan mountain, they didn't just stand around feeling sorry for themselves.

Saxon Spellman, 27, and Michael Wachs, 24, both of Idaho, stomped the letters "SOS" into the snow, according to a press release from Denali National Park.
An air taxi pilot observed the letters and the climbers waving their arms on Mount Dickey. The pilot notified park rangers, who used a helicopter to reach the men and carry them to safety, the release said.
    The avalanche occurred Monday and blocked all safe exits for Spellman and Wachs, who were not injured, the park said.
    The park has some big mountains, inlcuding the more than 20,000-foot Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Mount Dickey, where the men were climbing, has an altitude of 9,545 feet. The men had reached an elevation of about 7,500 feet.
    The helicopter was able to land on a flat section of the peak for the rescue, the park service said. The men had also activated an electronic device that notifies emergency services of their location, the park service said.