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Two more climbers killed on Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on May 28, 2011 at 3:40 am |
May 28, 2011 3:40 am

From the National Park Service:

A fatal climbing fall at Denali Pass on Mt. McKinley took the lives of two mountaineers late Wednesday night. Two other members of the climbing team were flown to area hospitals with critical injuries early yesterday morning. Mountaineers at the 17,200-foot high camp reportedly witnessed the four-person rope team fall from Denali Pass near 18,000 feet around 11 p.m. Wednesday night.  An expedition of Air National Guard pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron responded and confirmed that two of the four had died in the fall. The other two patients were placed in rescue litters and lowered to the 17,200-foot high camp for emergency medical treatment – one was responsive and in stable condition with a broken leg and head injury but the other was non-responsive and suffering from labored breathing. The Air National Guard medics at high camp worked throughout the night to maintain his airway. Early yesterday morning, the park’s high altitude A-Star B3 helicopter evacuated each climber separately.  They were flown to the 7,200-foot Kahiltna Basecamp to two awaiting LifeMed air ambulances.  Details on the cause of the fall are unknown.  Weather at the time of the accident was clear with relatively calm winds.  The four-person rope team was beginning the traverse from Denali Pass to the 17,200-foot camp along a 45-degree slope of very hard, windblown snowpack.  This fall occurred in the same vicinity as the fatal fall of an unroped Italian climber on May 16th. Names of the climbers involved in the fatal accident are being withheld pending notification of family and friends.

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