SHAVER LAKE, Calif. – Seizing on a break in the weather, rescuers managed to locate 10 of the hikers missing in a blizzard that also killed two climbers stranded on the face of El Capitan (search) in Yosemite National Park (search).
Four of the missing hikers were rescued — Jeff Peacock, 45, his father, 75-year-old Tom Peacock, Douglas W. Schneider, 47, and Britt Jefferson, 57 — from the San Francisco Bay area city of Lafayette. All are experienced backpackers who had camped in snow previously and were prepared for bad weather.
Also found — but not yet rescued — were four members of a Santa Cruz County winemaking family — two father-and-son pairs — who had been missing since Sunday from a 9,400-foot-elevation lake east of Fresno in the Sierra National Forest (search).
Those four — Paul Bargetto, 47, his brother-in-law Frank Horath, 45, and their sons, Michael Bargetto, 20, and Dominic Horath, 16, began their hike Friday at Courtright Reservoir, in a remote area northeast of Fresno.
They were spotted from the air at about 11 a.m. walking around, and all appeared to be in good shape, authorities said. A rescue team was lowered to the ground and expected to reach the stranded hikers in less than a half hour.
"Oh thank God, thank God, this is the greatest day of my life, " rejoiced Rita Bargetto-Snider, who was at the command post where the rescue was being coordinated when she received word that her brother, Paul, was apparently safe.