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2 Japanese climbers found dead at Yosemite

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Two Japanese climbers were found dead Wednesday in Yosemite National Park, dangling from a 3,200-foot sheer climbing face amid an early blizzard that caught hikers throughout the Sierra Nevada off-guard.

Rescuers pummeled by heavy snow and strong wind struggled to reach several stranded backpackers.

The climbers on El Capitan, the granite monolith in the Yosemite Valley that is among the world's best-known rock climbing spots, were spotted Tuesday by Yosemite rangers but could not be reached because of driving wind and snow.

A helicopter crew took off Wednesday as the storm began to clear and spotted the pair dangling lifeless about two-thirds of the way up the rock face, park ranger Deb Schweizer said.

"They weren't moving," she said. "They didn't seem well-equipped."

Rangers expected to be able to retrieve the bodies today.