We mentioned that one of our teams witnessed an accident on the 20th of May. The incident did not involve anyone on a Mountain Trip team, although our May 8th team was very close to the climbers immediately before they fell. Both climbers survived the fall. Nevertheless, it was traumatic for our climbers to see.
Immediately after the fall, two of our guides rappelled 600-700′ to try to find the fallen climbers, but did not see any trace of them. On the morning of the 21st, four MT guides assisted the National Park Service in their rescue efforts. Our heartfelt best wishes go out to the injured climbers and we appreciate the efforts of the NPS to provide assistance.
The following is from the NPS website.
Short-haul and evacuation – Multiple traumatic injuries (May 20-21): A party of two was ascending the West Buttress route on Denali when they fell off the narrow ridge near 16,500 feet down to the Peters Glacier. Although team was roped together, they were not clipped into any fixed protection. The fall was witnessed by a guided party, who reported seeing one of the two climbers self-arresting or at least slowing the speed of the fall. The witnesses immediately contacted the NPS to initiate a rescue. Members of an NPS ranger patrol responded, but when they arrived at the fall site, visibility had deteriorated and winds picked up. The patrol returned to the 14,200-foot camp to gather a larger rescue team and technical rescue equipment. In the early morning hours of May 21, one of the two fallen climbers was spotted descending the fixed lines slowly. After assisting him into camp, the rangers learned that his partner was reportedly stable and awaiting rescue in a large, well-marked crevasse at approximately 15,800 feet on the Peters Glacier side of the ridge, but she was in considerable pain and could not safely ascend or descend. That morning, multiple ground teams ascended the fixed lines to the ridge, and then descended to her location in the crevasse on the Peters Glacier. At the same time, the NPS helicopter flew to the site with a short-haul line and a rescue harness. Rangers and volunteer medics on the ground crew assessed her and then rigged for the short-haul flight to the 14,200-foot camp. There she was re-assessed and loaded in the helicopter for evacuation to Talkeetna, where she was transferred to a LifeMed air ambulance for further evaluation of head and back injuries.