19 May 2007

McKinley Claims Two More

JUNEAU, Alaska - Two climbers died after a 1,900-foot fall during a descent of Mount McKinley — North America’s highest mountain — Denali National Park and Reserve officials said Friday.

As an ex-climber (hoping to return to climbing this summer) I have a lot of empathy for the individuals and families involved in these sort of accidents.

Though I've never climbed McKinley I've read enough about it to know that it can be a fairly hazardous mountain to climb, particularly due to weather related issues. The fact that it has claimed a fair number of lives over the years demonstrates this.

To give folks an idea of the difficulties which this mountain presents to a climber note that ascents generally take several weeks (or as long as a month) and that well over half of the ascents are unsuccessful. There are no "dog trails" on McKinley.

Condolences and thoughts to the families, etc.

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