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    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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Climbing Fatalities on Mt. McKinley Identified

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Date: May 18, 2007
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583

Two climbers died in a 1,900-foot fall during a descent of Mt. McKinley on Thursday evening May 17. Mizuki Takahashi, a 36-year-old woman from Lake Forest Park, Washington was pronounced dead shortly after the fall. Her partner, 27-year-old Brian Massey from North Bend, Washington remained unconscious throughout the night, but succumbed to his injuries Friday morning.

Takahashi and Massey had left the 14,200-foot camp on Tuesday morning for an ascent of the Upper West Rib route of Mt. McKinley. A third team member stayed behind at the 14,200-foot camp. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening, a mountaineering ranger patrol staged at the mountain’s 17,200-foot High Camp witnessed the fall, which began from an elevation just below 19,000-feet near the Messner Couloir. The roped pair fell to a point just below High Camp.

A hasty team comprised of the ranger patrol and two climbing guides traversed to the team, and confirmed that Takahashi was deceased. The rescue team performed an initial assessment of Massey, who was immediately carried back to the ranger tent for emergency medical treatment for severe injuries. Massey never regained consciousness, and he died Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.

Cloud cover and darkness prevented a medical evacuation overnight. The remains of the two climbers will be flown down to Talkeetna when flying conditions permit.

-- NPS --

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close view of Arnica, a small yellow flower

Over 650 species of flowering plants as well as many species of mosses, lichens, fungi, algae, and others grace the slopes and valleys of Denali.