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1 climber dead, another seriously hurt after 1,000-foot fall on Alaska peak

Incident happened on technical route on Mount Johnson in Denali National Park and Preserve

By Associated Press
Published: April 26, 2024, 9:09pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A climber is dead and another seriously injured after falling about 1,000 feet while on a steep, technical route on Mount Johnson in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, authorities said Friday.

The fall Thursday night was witnessed by another climbing party, who reported it around 10:45 p.m. and descended to where the climbers had fallen. They confirmed one of the climbers had died and dug a snow cave and tended to the hurt climber, according to a statement from the park.

Early Friday, a rescue helicopter and two mountaineering rangers left Talkeetna, where the park’s mountaineering operations are based. They were able to rescue the injured climber, who was later taken in a medevac helicopter for additional care. The helicopter and rangers returned to the mountain later to recover the body of the climber who died but were forced back by deteriorating weather, the statement said. Rangers plan to return when conditions allow, the park said.

The name of the climber who died was not immediately released, pending notification of family.

The fall occurred on a route on the 8,400-foot Mount Johnson known as “the Escalator” on the mountain’s southeast face. The route involves navigating steep rock, ice and snow, the park said.

Denali National Park and Preserve is about 240 miles north of Anchorage.

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