Japanese climber survives thousand-foot fall from Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve, seen from Denali Park Road in 2020. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

National Park Service rangers rescued a climber who fell from a 16,000-foot-high ridge at Denali National Park and Preserve, officials said Saturday.

A mountaineering ranger evacuated the 24-year-old Japanese climber from a point at 15,100 feet in elevation, park officials said.

The climber suffered minor injuries and was transferred by helicopter to a hospital, officials said.

The climber was climbing with a partner on Friday, on the West Buttress climbing route on Denali just above the fixed line at 16,200 feet.

The climber’s partner told rangers early Saturday morning the fall occurred Friday around 11 p.m. while they were on a route known as the West Buttress to Peters Glacier, the agency said. The partner saw the fall but couldn’t see where the climber came to rest.

Rangers began an aerial and ground search for the climber, but cloudy weather conditions prevented a helicopter from accessing the climber’s location, officials said. The ground search was based at Denali Base Camp, at 14,000 feet.

The incident comes just over a week after two climbers who went missing at the park were presumed dead.

Denali is a 6-million acre park about a 120-mile drive north of Anchorage.

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