Alaska News

Search underway for climber who fell from 16,000-foot ridge on Denali

This story is no longer being updated. Find the latest version detailing the climber’s rescue here.

Rangers are searching on the ground and by air for a climber who fell from a Denali ridge at 16,000 feet to the Peters Glacier on Friday night, park officials said Saturday.

The missing climber and their partner were on Denali’s West Buttress — “just above the fixed line at around 16,000 feet” — around 11 p.m. Friday when the fall occurred, Denali National Park and Preserve officials said in a statement.

“The partner witnessed the fall from the ridge but could not access or see where the fallen climber came to rest,” the park said. The partner notified rangers of the fall around 2 a.m. Saturday, according to Denali National Park, which did not identify the missing climber.

A National Park Service helicopter was dispatched to aid in the search, but cloudy conditions Saturday kept it from reaching the area where the climber fell, park officials said. “Mountaineering rangers are also conducting a ground search from Denali Base Camp at 14,000 feet,” the park said in its statement.

Officials say search operations on the upper mountain will continue as weather allows.

The incident on Denali, which at 20,310 feet is North America’s tallest mountain, comes about two weeks after two climbers went missing while attempting to scale the Moose’s Tooth, a peak within the Ruth Gorge about 15 miles southeast of Denali. They were last heard from May 5 and are now presumed dead after extensive search efforts and indications that a small avalanche swept them off their feet.