Mount McKinley Search Continues
Contact: Maureen McLaughlin, (907) 733-9103
Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
The search continued on Saturday for Dr. Gerald Myers, a climber who has not been seen or heard from since his solo summit bid on Mt. McKinley earlier in the week. Favorable flying conditions in the Alaska Range permitted more extensive aerial searching and photo-documentation of zones previously obscured by clouds. Three aircraft with spotting crews, including the park’s A-Star B3 helicopter, a Cessna Conquest twin engine airplane, and a Cessna 206, collectively flew over ten hours. Search zones included the upper mountain, elevations between 14,200 and 17,200 feet, as well as potential north side descent routes. A ground team climbed to Denali Pass on Saturday, but was turned around by high winds.
Dr. Myers began his summit bid from the 14,200-foot camp the morning of Tuesday, May 19, and is considered to have travelled light with minimal survival gear. He was sighted above Denali Pass (18,200-feet) later that afternoon. An individual climber was observed on the summit ridge the afternoon of Wednesday, May 20, although it cannot be confirmed that it was Dr. Myers.
Aerial searching is anticipated to continue on Sunday. The park’s A-Star B3 helicopter will be joined in the search by two U.S. Army Chinook helicopters from Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks.
Did You Know?
Warmer average temperatures over several decades have resulted in expansion of woody vegetation. If this warming trend continues, it will change Alaska's ecosystems and drastically alter the physical appearance of Denali's landscape, as treeline marches higher up the mountains.