Deaths on Alaska mountain show search challenges

By

Published:

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Four Japanese climbers swept into a crevasse by an avalanche are among 120 people who have died on Alaska's Mount McKinley and bring to 44 the number of bodies remaining on North America's tallest mountain.

Searchers say sometimes recovering a body is too dangerous. Other times the final resting place on the 20,320-foot mountain is unknown.

National Park Service officials announced Sunday the search for the four bodies was suspended after a mountaineering ranger lowered himself 100 feet into the same crevasse that the party's lone survivor, 69-year-old Hitoshi Ogi, fell into after the avalanche Wednesday.

Officials say the risk of falling ice made it too dangerous to continue the search.

The first two known McKinley deaths occurred in 1932. The body of one of those climbers remains on the mountain.