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Clouds, high winds hamper efforts to rescue 2 climbers from Denali

Men sending distress signals for 2 days from Denali

By Associated Press
Published: May 30, 2024, 5:42pm

JUNEAU, Alaska — Clouds and high winds hampered efforts by rangers on Thursday to reach two climbers who remained high up on North America’s tallest peak two days after first sending a distress signal. Teams on the mountain and a high-altitude helicopter pilot were on standby waiting for conditions to improve, according to a statement from Denali Park and Preserve.

The two climbers, described as men ages 36 and 47, from Malaysia, have been in a snow cave at 19,600 feet on Denali since late Tuesday and have been dealing with exhaustion and hypothermia, the park said.

A third man who was part of the climbing team was rescued Tuesday night after descending to a 17,200-foot high camp. The 48-year-old man, also from Malaysia, was in serious condition when he was rescued, the park said.

Rangers received an SOS message from the three at 1 a.m. Tuesday, indicating the climbers were hypothermic and unable to descend after reaching Denali’s 20,310-foot summit, the park has said.

But communications with the team stopped at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday “for unknown reasons,” before rangers received a succession of messages from the men late Wednesday, confirming their location and again requesting help, the park said.

The men indicated the battery in their satellite communication device was nearly dead.

The two climbers at one point got help from an expedition guide on Denali, who for safety reasons had to descend from the climbers’ location late Tuesday when clouds moved in, the park has said.

The park is about 240 miles north of Anchorage.