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Contact: Maureen Gualtieri, 907-733-9103
Contact: Sharon Stiteler, 907-683-9583
TALKEETNA, AK -- Denali National Park and Preserve mountaineering rangers were notified of a crevasse fall at the base of Mount Hunter’s North Buttress late Tuesday night, May 17. A 43-year-old climber from Kanagawa, Japan, was un-roped from his teammates when he fell through a weak ice bridge near their camp at approximately 8,000 feet on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
A teammate of the fallen climber sought help from the NPS mountaineering rangers at the Kahiltna Basecamp at approximately 11:30 pm Tuesday. Two NPS patrol members skied back to the accident site with the reporting teammate. One ranger rappelled into the crevasse as deep as possible, confirming that the ice bridge collapse had filled the narrow crevasse with a large volume of snow and ice approximately 80 feet below the glacier surface. The ranger was unable to descend further. The climber is presumed dead based on the volume of ice, the distance of the fall, and the duration of the burial. The feasibility of a body recovery will be investigated in the days ahead.
In follow up to the mountaineering fatality at 17,000-feet on Denali at the beginning of May, the body of Austrian solo climber Matthias Rimml was recovered via a long-line helicopter operation on Tuesday, May 17.
Last updated: May 18, 2022