Climber falls 150 feet, rescued on Moose's Tooth, agency says

Beth Bragg

A Japanese climber fell 150 feet and spent several hours on Moose's Tooth in Denali National Park early Saturday before being rescued by the Alaska Air National Guard.

The climber, a man who was not immediately identified, had reached the summit of the 10,300-foot peak and was on his way down when one of his anchors came out of the rock, according to a report by the Air Guard. The ascent portion of the climb is called "Shaken Not Stirred," the Air Guard said.

A climber from a separate party reported the fall using a satellite phone at 2:20 a.m., the Air Guard said.

"The patient was described as going in and out of (consciousness), and we didn't know if he was still on the rock or down at the base," said Sgt. Nate Greene, a pararescueman quoted in the Air Guard statement.

The man was at about 7,000 feet in a sleeping bag being tended to by climbing partners when pararescuers reached him. He was shaking badly, the agency said.

"His right eye was swollen shut, and a lot of coagulated blood was under his hat," Greene said. "He had a skull laceration on top of his head, which tend to bleed a lot, but his condition was still pretty amazing considering the fall he had."

Climbers from the second party helped set a trail in the knee-deep snow to get to a glacier landing strip called Root Canal, which is used to access the rocky Moose's Tooth, said Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes. They also made another trail to a landing spot closer to the injured man, Hayes said.

The injured climber was loaded into a helicopter at 6:55 a.m. and reached Providence Alaska Medical Center at 7:55 a.m., the report said.

Daily News reporter Casey Grove contributed to this story.

Anchorage Daily News