I wanted to give you all an update. We are still not able to provide any names, but the climber with a broken leg is doing remarkably well in a hospital in Anchorage. With the deepest regret, I need to announce that the other climber was found at about 18,000′, however he did not survive the ordeal.
The winds tapered off in the evening yesterday, and the National Park Service was able to launch their A-Star B3 helicopter to the upper mountain. Equipped with a litter at the end of a cable, the helicopter reached the climber with a broken leg, who was able to get himself into the litter. The helicopter delivered him to Base Camp and he was transferred to a fixed wing aircraft for the flight to Anchorage. The helicopter then returned to the upper mountain with an NPS Ranger at the end of a 125′ rope to assist the climber near Denali Pass. The Ranger loaded the climber into a canvas sling known as a “screamer suit” and they were whisked to Base Camp and transferred to a CH-47 Chinook, twin rotor helicopter that was better suited to flying in high winds. The unresponsive climber was pronounced deceased by NPS Ranger Medics. The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Guide Henry Munter ascended this morning to assist guides Dave Staeheli and Jack McGee on their descent today with the third climber to the 14,200′ camp where they could receive higher level medical assessment and a determination as to the next course of action will be made. After Henry arrived at the 17,200′ camp, it was decided that the NPS would fly Dave and the injured climber off the mountain.
It is painful to not help those of you who are anxious by providing names, but we are following strict protocols designed to help the next-of-kin receive notification firsthand from a team of trained professionals who can personally deliver the tragic news. We will continue to update as possible.
Our hearts and prayers go out to all the team and to all of you.