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Climbers trapped on Colorado peak get down on their own

Two experienced climbers trapped for two days by an ice storm near the peak of a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado managed to get down on their own, officials said Friday.

"They are fine, they were not injured," said Patrick O'Driscoll, a spokesman for the Intermountain Region office of the National Park Service.

O'Driscoll later told the Associated Press that Park Service rangers in an all-terrain vehicle had traveled through floodwaters to shuttle the climbers -- Suzanne Turell and Connie Yang -- to safety after they had descended from Longs Peak on their own.

On Thursday, the climbers sent text messages stating that they were at risk of hypothermia and needed help. They provided their precise latitude and longitude and said they were not hurt, but raging floods at the bottom of the peak left roads impassable and made it impossible for rescue crews to reach them, a co-worker said Friday.

Suzanne Turell Courtesy of Nemo Equipment

The Park Service was about to launch its rescue operation when it got word that the women were safe.

Turell had sent a text shortly after 9 a.m. ET Thursday that said: “We need help. At top of longs peak. 13400 feet. Whiteout snowstorm.”

Another text from Turell said: “Can’t move because of ice Storm, don’t know how long it will last. Been here for 1 day trying to wait it out.” The texts were sent to Yang’s sister, who has set up a Tumblr page to keep friends and family up to date on the rescue.

Connie Yang Courtesy of Nemo Equipment

Tina Bourgeois, the co-worker, said the women were deeply experienced and spent three weeks on and off the Pacific Coast Trail last year. They live in York, Maine.

“They’re both well-educated, intelligent, brave women who put themselves out on adventures routinely,” Bourgeois said. “They’re trained. They’re well-versed. They know what they need to be doing.”