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Diabetes, Inexperience—Alaska, Mt. McKinley

DIABETES, INEXPERIENCE—Alaska, Mt. McKinley. Jon Kushner (20) was a member of the Cleveland Bicentennial Mount McKinley Expedition climbing the West Buttress Route. Jon was a diabetic and needed two types of insulin. Somewhere around April 24, Jon’s insulin froze and he was no longer able to use it. On April 28, while the party was at 14,000 feet, Kushner’s condition had deteriorated badly enough that the party felt they should call for an evacuation. (Source: Bob Gerhard, McKinley Park.)

Analysis. Kushner did not notify the Park Service that he was a diabetic when he registered. He did submit a signed physician’s certificate in which a doctor stated that he had examined Kushner and found him physically and temperamentally fit for a McKinley expedition. It is difficult to imagine that a diabetic climber who had any idea of the conditions likely to be encountered on a climb of Mount McKinley in April would allow his insulin to freeze. (Source: Bob Gerhard, McKinley Park.)