Avalanche Victims Identified
Contact: Maureen McLaughlin, (907) 733-9103
Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
Denali National Park & Preserve rescue personnel confirmed that two climbers died in an avalanche while attempting the Japanese Couloir route on Mt. Barrille earlier this week. The two climbers have been identified as 33-year-old Andre Callari of Salt Lake City, Utah and 32-year-old Brian Postlethwait of Park City, Utah.
The avalanche likely occurred late Tuesday night, May 15, or early Wednesday morning, May 16. The pair was observed starting the climb Tuesday evening, leaving their skis at the base of the route. Thursday afternoon, another climbing party notified an NPS ranger patrol that the team was overdue and skis were still sitting at the base of Mt. Barrille. Whiteout conditions on Thursday evening and most of Friday precluded a surveillance flight or a ground-based investigation.
When skies cleared late Friday evening, the NPS-contracted Lama helicopter flew to the peak and rangers spotted two figures in avalanche debris at the base of Mt. Barrille. The following day, in better lighting conditions, the same crew returned to the debris area. The climbers’ remains were recovered and flown back to Talkeetna.
Did You Know?
Cold temperatures limit trees from growing at high elevation in Denali. Warmer temperatures, however, have led to woody vegetation growing at ever-higher elevations. Treeline changes are a conspicuous sign of climate change.