0ne Malaysian Climber Rescued, One Fatality In Denali Incident

An update from one of multiple Denali climbing incidents from the National Park Service, one climber was rescued with one confirmed fatality:

Climber Rescued from 19,600 Feet on Denali 

Denali Park, AK – Denali National Park and Preserve rescue personnel evacuated one of two Malaysian climbers stranded at 19,600 feet on Denali at approximately 7:00 AM on Friday, May 31.  According to the surviving climber, his partner had died in their snow cave approximately two days prior. Earlier this week, a third member of the 3-person Malaysian team was evacuated from 17,200 feet on Tuesday, May 28, the day the high-altitude rescue operations started.  

A combination of clouds and high winds on the upper mountain had kept both a ground rescue team and aviation resources in standby mode throughout most of Wednesday and Thursday. At 10:30 PM Thursday night, the park’s high altitude helicopter pilot was able to drop a duffle bag of survival gear near the two climber’s snow cave on the Football Field. The pilot observed one climber waving at him at the time of the air drop, however winds were still too strong to safely conduct a short-haul basket extraction. 

With improvement in weather conditions, the park’s helicopter pilot and one ranger returned for a reconnaissance flight at 6:00 AM Friday.  Wind conditions allowed for the pilot to return to the Football Field at 19,600 feet with a short-haul rescue basket at the end of a rope line. The surviving mountaineer climbed into the basket and was flown down to the 7,200-foot Kahiltna Basecamp, then evacuated to the Talkeetna State Airport for transfer to a LifeMed air ambulance. 

The identity of the deceased climber will be released pending family notification. Ranger operations will shift to planning a recovery effort in the days ahead.