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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Climbing Mt. McKinley (Denali) in May, 2005 - Part 3.1

Excerpt from my journal on the mountain:

5-11  Day 4
Another long haul day, full pack and sled. Left at 11:26 AM and arrived at 2:10 PM. Beat the guided groups again! Built a great camp, including Megamid (tent) for cook tent. Talked with rangers again. French climbers were here too.    11,180'    
Heard Llama rescue helicopter. Rangers monitor FRS (channel) 1-0. Great dinner of potato soup with clams, bread and butter and chocolate pudding. We are expecting a storm but planned to rest here.
10:18 PM  Will go to sleep soon. Still bright.
PS: two climbers died on Denali Pass today. No details yet.

Later I found the news article about the accident.

AP/Seattle Times -
Twins die in fall on Alaska's Mount McKinley

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE -- Twin brothers who likely reached the summit of North America's highest mountain died in a fall, a Denali National Park and Preserve official said yesterday. It is believed that 55-year-old brothers Jerry and Terry Humphrey of Negley, Ohio, reached the Mount McKinley summit and were descending when one of them fell, perhaps falling into the other, said spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin.

The deaths were the first of the 2005 climbing season on the 20,320-foot mountain.

The brothers were not roped together, McLaughlin said. The bodies were found at 17,300 feet, just below Denali Pass. The brothers fell approximately 1,000 feet. Weather probably was not a factor as skies overnight were clear and winds were moderate. Conditions were not overly icy.

Jerry Humphrey's son, Jeremy, 25, was on a solo climb on McKinley when the accident occurred. He told park rangers he spoke to the pair at about 10 p.m. Tuesday while they were descending from the summit. They were at about 18,600 feet when he last talked to them. Denali Pass, where the accident likely occurred, is at approximately 18,000 feet. A guided expedition camped at 17,200 feet notified park rangers yesterday morning that two climbers were overdue from an overnight summit attempt. Members of the guided climbing party found the climbers' bodies just below Denali Pass, about a mile from the summit.

A rescue team from the Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron, who were also camped at 17,200 feet, traversed to the bodies and prepared them to be taken off the mountain. A high-altitude helicopter brought the bodies to base camp.

The son was flown off the mountain yesterday.

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