A climber from Idaho was killed and another was seriously injured when they were hit by ice from a collapsing serac in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, an official said Friday.
The accident happened Thursday as they were starting up Reality Ridge at the southern flank of Denali, said park spokesperson Maureen Gualtieri. The accident happened at 5 a.m. One climber, described by park officials as a 31-year-old man from Logan, Utah, was knocked unconscious. When he woke up, he found his climbing partner, a 32-year-old man from Rigby, Idaho, dead from the accident.
The names of the men have been withheld as family members make notifications, Gualtieri said. The survivor used a satellite phone or device to call for a rescue at 6 a.m. A statement from the park said the man had significant injuries but was able to move out of the debris area to a safe location.
Two rangers were flown to the site by Denali National Park’s high altitude helicopter, arriving about 7 a.m. Banff National Park search and rescue technician Aaron Beardmore is currently working in that area, but it’s not known who responded to the call.
They took the injured climber to a safe location on the glacier to provide emergency care then flew the man to the nearby town of Talkeetna, where he was transferred to an air ambulance for transport for further care.
There’s recently been a number of high pressure systems that had climbers getting up classics like the Cobra Pillar.
Cloudy weather prevented the helicopter from returning, so Rangers will head back when conditions allow to assess the possibility of recovering the climber’s remains, the statement said. It’s the second death this year in Denali. On May 3, Mason Stansfield, 28, of Ouray, Colorado, died after falling into a crevasse while skiing with a group of pro climbers.