Stranded California climber feared dead at summit

The climbing partner of a California man stranded near the summit of Mount Shasta told authorities he fears the man is dead.

Mark Thomas of Berkeley was rescued Monday after he walked down the mountain for help. He told rescuers his friend Thomas Bennett was unresponsive, and he was afraid Bennett had died.

Stormy conditions Tuesday prevented rescue teams from searching for a second day.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp says helicopters are on standby in case of a break in the weather.

Thomas says he left Bennett, of Oakland, in a snow cave with water, candy bars and granola.

The two 26-year-olds were unable to descend from the 14,162-foot Northern California mountain after they encountered strong winds.

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