2009 Incidents

May 26,2009 Helicopter

The active search effort for a solo climber was scaled back on Tuesday afternoon after search managers determined that further air operations were unlikely to locate him. There has been no sighting of the solo climber or his gear during six days of aerial and ground searching. Although no more aerial flights are anticipated, ranger staff will continue to search through the thousands of high resolution images taken during the aerial flights in search of clues to the climber's whereabouts.   read more...

The subject began his summit bid from the 14,200-foot camp the morning of Tuesday, May 19. He was sighted at various elevations along the West Buttress route that day, the highest of which was somewhere between 18,000 and 19,000 feet. The climber did not return to high camp on Tuesday night. An individual climber was observed on the summit ridge the afternoon of Wednesday, May 20, although it cannot be confirmed that it was the subject.

The climber was observed carrying only a small daypack with minimal survival gear at the time of his disappearance. He did not take a stove for melting snow, and it is unknown how much food he had in his pack. Throughout his climb, he carried an FRS radio and a SPOT locator device; the last GPS location reported by the SPOT device was at the 17,200-foot camp on May 19. Throughout his trip, the subject had been making at least one position recording each day.

In light of his limited supplies and the subzero temperatures, search managers consider that survival is outside the window of possibility. Observers have thoroughly searched the route and surrounding areas to the degree that if the climbers were visible on the surface, there is a high probability they would have been discovered.  <<Collapse text>>

May 8, 2009

A client on a guided expedition collapsed and died of apparently natural causes on Thursday, May 7 while ascending the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley. The subject, age 61 of Fairport, New York, was a client on a six-member expedition which began their ascent on May 1. The subject collapsed shortly before 4:00 p.m. after his team had hauled gear from their camp at 11,200 feet to a cache site at 13,500 feet, just above the location known as Windy Corner.   read more...

The expedition guides immediately began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and were soon assisted by two National Park Service (NPS) mountaineering rangers who happened to be at Windy Corner retrieving gear. CPR was performed for over 30 minutes, but the subject never regained a pulse. Two advanced medical providers on the same NPS patrol, a paramedic and a nurse, arrived on scene from the 14,200-foot camp at 4:30 p.m. Shortly thereafter, he was pronounced deceased after telephone consultation with the park's physician sponsor. While the five team members returned to their camp at 11,200-feet, NPS rangers secured the deceased in place at 13,500-feet for later helicopter evacuation.  <<Collapse text>>