Here's an excellent article on the April rescue copter crash on Shasta
But Matt Hill, 35, and Dan Towner, 39, climbing rangers at Mount Shasta for the U.S. Forest Service, survived a helicopter crash at 12,000 feet. The ordeal has been the subject of TV features, news shows and mountaineering lore across the hemisphere and has turned Hill and Towner into legends.
This incident started when a climber was killed in a 2,000-foot fall. His partner then was reported lost and missing in a snow storm.
Hill and Towner were dispatched, and with a crew of seven, departed in a Blackhawk helicopter to attempt a search and rescue. The chopper climbed up to 12,000 feet at Cascade Gulch, the massive ravine set between Shasta's twin peaks.
Over the course of nearly three hours, the crew emerged below a cloud deck. They worked their way down to the bottom of Hidden Valley in Cascade Gulch, at 9,400 feet, where another helicopter landed at a rare flat spot for the ride out to emergency services.
The flight crew was elated and quick to climb aboard.
Meanwhile, Hill and Towner, looked at each other, grinned and laughed at the sight of the helicopter.
"No way," they nearly said in unison to the pilot.
They each strapped on Telemark skis, and in a flash, sailed down the mountain on their own, heading to the parking area at Bunny Flat. Their wives, Angela and Uschi, were waiting. The four were in tears as they hugged each other.
"We were happy just to be alive," Hill said.
This accident occurred in April of 2000, almost three years ago to the day. It seems they were born to deal with this moment.
Towner, meanwhile, is one of the West's most prolific mountain climbers. He has worked as a climbing ranger for 10 years, with more than 200 summits of Mount Shasta alone. Towner has always had an orientation to the outdoors and an edge for the best. He grew up in San Jose, went backpacking and climbing with the Boy Scouts and ran track and cross-country at Chico State.