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Climber Killed In 1100-Foot Fall

Denali National Park and Preserve

National Park News

On the afternoon of Friday, May 18th, mountaineering rangers were notified that a member of a three-person climbing team had fallen from 16,200 feet on Mt. McKinley’s West Buttress route.  The un-roped team had just reached the top of the ‘headwall’ or ‘fixed lines’ section of the West Buttress route when one climber fell 1,100 feet down the north face of the buttress to the Peters Glacier.  A witness said that the climber fell while attempting to recover a backpack that had started to slide downhill. At the time of the fall, an NPS mountaineering patrol was ascending the fixed lines shortly behind the three-member team. They soon arrived at the fall site, contacted fellow NPS rangers via radio, and asked that a helicopter be dispatched to the scene.  The park’s A-Star B3 helicopter launched from Talkeetna in clear, calm weather conditions with two ranger-paramedics on board. They confirmed that the climber had died of injuries sustained in the fall.  The body was recovered and flown back to Talkeetna. There are currently 336 mountaineers attempting routes on Mt. McKinley.  Four climbers have reached the summit this season.  This fatal fall is the first serious incident on Mt. McKinley of the 2012 mountaineering season. 


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