Denali National Park and Preserve, summary. Our staff responded to 18 major incidents this year, including frostbite, altitude illness, trauma, and cardiac illness. In an unusual turn of events, two clients from separate guided groups experienced sudden fatal collapses within three days in early July. Another tragic event involved the perplexing disappearance of two highly skilled Japanese climbers. Tracks in the snow indicate that Tatsuro Yamada and Yuto Inoue had completed an entire traverse of the Kahiltna Peaks, west to east, and continued directly up the prow of the Cassin Ridge. Their tracks vanished at 19,200' and, despite an exhaustive aerial search, no decisive evidence materialized. After their disappearance the Cassin Ridge was climbed by a record-breaking nine expeditions, but no more clues were found.
Bengt Bern and Jan Vinterek were selected for the 2008 Denali Pro Award for demonstrating the highest standards for safety, self-sufficiency, assisting fellow mountaineers, and clean climbing. Revered South District Ranger Daryl Miller retired after 18 years of working in the Denali mountaineering program.
Quick Statistics—Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker:
Mt. McKinley: Average trip length: 16.9 days. Busiest summit day: May 30, with 91 summits. Average age: 37. Women constituted 9% of all climbers.
Fifty-one nations were represented on Mt. McKinley and Mt. Foraker, including U.S. (692 climbers), Canada (72), U.K. (69), Germany (47), and Spain (42).
McKinley was attempted by 1,272 climbers, with 59% reaching the summit; 1,123 attempted the West Buttress, with 58% summiting. Sixteen climbers attempted Mt. Foraker, with only one summiting.
The complete Mountaineering Summary can be found at www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/ summaryreports.htm
Summarized from the Denali National Park & Preserve Annual Mountaineering Summary