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Kasilof woman dies in fall on glacier in Hatcher Pass area

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: August 8
  • Published August 8

Penny Royal Glacier, pictured late on June 18, 2017. (Vicky Ho / ADN archive)

A Kasilof hiker died after she fell and slid several hundred yards down a glacier in the Hatcher Pass area Sunday evening, troopers said in a report online.

Leslie Lahndt, 57, was trying to cross Penny Royal Glacier — about 10 miles northeast of the Gold Mint trailhead — with her daughter and a friend when she fell, troopers reported. Lahndt “slid several hundred yards down the glacier and into rocks,” troopers said.

The two others hiked down to Lahndt and found that she had been killed in the fall, according to troopers.

Troopers were notified of the accident around 10:35 p.m. Sunday. According to the report, an Alaska Department of Public Safety helicopter attempted to fly to the glacier to recover Lahndt’s body, but was turned around because of poor weather.

Lahndt’s body was recovered Wednesday with the assistance of a DPS helicopter and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, troopers said, and was taken to the State Medical Examiner Office in Anchorage.

Penny Royal Glacier lies along the Bomber Traverse, a backcountry hut-to-hut route in the Talkeetna Mountains that includes glacier travel and hiking on steep, rocky terrain. It was unclear what route the hikers were traveling Sunday, what gear they may have been using and whether their destination included any of the huts along the traverse.

Penny Royal falls between Mint Hut and Bomber Hut, which are both operated by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.

“Accessing the hut via any of the glaciers requires glacier travel skills, although the glaciers are benign, they are still dangerous, use caution,” warns the Mountaineering Club of Alaska’s website.

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