Weather Slowing Down Rescue Efforts Of Distressed Denali Climbers

Here’s an update from the National Park Service as there have been a series of distressed climber incidents during the peak of the Denali climbing season:

Denali Rangers Waiting for Weather to Improve Before Resuming Rescue of Distressed Climbers 

Image showing the South Summit of Denali and the approximate location of the ”Football Field” feature where the distressed climbers are known to be sheltering in a crude snow cave. NPS Photo.

Denali Park, AK – Denali National Park mountaineering rangers are on standby to reach two distressed climbers located at 19,600 feet on Denali.  The men, ages 36 and 47, have been bivying in a crude snow cave since late Tuesday night, May 28, following an extended summit push that left their team exhausted and hypothermic. A third teammate, age 48, was able to descend to the 17,200-foot high camp on Tuesday, from where he was evacuated in serious condition that night.  All three men are from Malaysia. 

Initial InReach communications with the climbing team stopped at 3:30 am on Tuesday morning for unknown reasons.  NPS rangers did not receive another InReach communication until 10:00 pm last night, Wednesday, May 29, when five brief messages came through in rapid succession from the two men, confirming their location and requesting help. The last message from the men indicated their InReach battery was almost completely depleted.      

Clouds and high winds on the upper mountain prevented ground teams from moving any higher than the 17,200-foot high camp on Wednesday.  On Thursday morning, a ground crew of NPS rangers and mountaineering volunteers at high camp remains on standby to move higher on the mountain once winds abate.  The park’s high altitude helicopter pilot is likewise on standby until conditions are safe to fly.