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North America, United States, Alaska, Mount Jarvis Ascent and Tragedy, Wangell Mountains

Mount Jarvis Ascent and Tragedy, Wrangell Mountains. Japanese climbers Hiroshi Oda and Ichiro Mitoda were flown to the Nebesna Glacier by bush pilot Ken Bunch on April 4. They started alpine-style up the southeast ridge of Mount Jarvis (4091 meters, 13,421 feet). (The first ascent was made on July 26, 1967 from the saddle between Mount Jarvis and Wrangell by Ed Lane, Barbara Lilley, Bill Morris and Dick Beach.) On April 6, Oda climbed to the summit, while Mitoda quit some 650 feet lower. The next day, they both returned to the summit and descended to the landing point, hoping to be picked up on the 10th. Bad weather intervened and it was not until April 16 that Bunch could return to pick them up. There was so much new snow that they failed to take off after a run of 1000 feet. They began to pack the runway with skis. Bunch emerged from theplane to help, took ten steps, collapsed and died immediately from a massive heart attack. When the skilled bush pilot with 45 years of experience did not return, other pilots set out to search for him. After they located the problem, eventually the Japanese were evacuated by Army helicopter. A full account appears in Iwa To Yuki N° 147, August 1991.