ACCIDENTS & INJURIES

One climber dies, one survives with traumatic injuries after 1,000-foot fall off mountain in Alaska’s Denali National Park

Apr 27, 2024, 10:10 AM

DENALI NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA - UNDATED:  General view of the West face of Mt. McKinley in Denali Na...

DENALI NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA - UNDATED: General view of the West face of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park in Alaska. (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images)

(Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images)

(CNN) — One person is dead and another is seriously injured after a two-person climbing team fell 1,000 feet while ascending a mountain in Alaska’s Denali National Park on Thursday.

The two roped climbers were climbing the “the Escalator” route on Mt. Johnson, which is a “steep and technical alpine climb on the peak’s southeast face” involving a “mix of steep rock, ice, and snow,” according to a release from the park.

Another climbing party on the same route saw the fall and alerted the Alaska Regional Communication Center around 10:45 p.m., the park said. They then climbed down to the victims and confirmed one of the climbers had died in the fall. The second climber sustained “serious traumatic injuries,” according to the release.

“The responders dug a snow cave and attended to the surviving climber’s injuries throughout the night,” the release said.

The following morning, Denali’s high-altitude rescue helicopter pilot and two mountaineering rangers responded to the incident. One ranger was lowered to the group of climbers and the injured patient was then short-hauled out to a flat glacier and loaded into the helicopter.

They were flown to Talkeetna, Alaska, where the surviving climber was then transferred to a LifeMed air ambulance at the Talkeetna State Airport for treatment, according to the park.

The helicopter and park rangers returned to the accident site later that morning in hopes of recovering the body of the dead climber, but had to turn back due to deteriorating weather, the release said.

“NPS rangers will return to the site when weather conditions allow,” the park said.

The dead climber’s identity is not being released until the family is notified, according to the park.

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One climber dies, one survives with traumatic injuries after 1,000-foot fall off mountain in Alaska’s Denali National Park