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Avalanche, Alaska Mt. McKinley

AVALANCHE

Alaska, Mt. McKinley

AI Aaporta and Josef Carmichael (age unknown) were near the top of the couloir on the West Rib about 13,000 feet on May 29 when they were swept off the route by an avalanche which carried them 1500 feet down the route and buried them. Carmichael was able to dig himself out and dig out Aaporta also. Carmichael put Aaporta, who had a compound facture of his leg, into a sleeping bag. Carmichael then made a very hazardous lone ski descent to the main Kahiltna Glacier, where he met another party who radioed for help. Carmichael was picked up that morning by a ski plane. He had one broken ankle and one sprained ankle. Aaporta was picked up by helicopter that afternoon. (Source: Nick Hartzell, Mt. McKinley National Park)

Analysis

The team was climbing on a steep section soon after a three-day storm which probably created the unstable conditions. While it is often necessary to move in any good weather in the Alaska Range, this section of the climb is particularly dangerous. (Source: Nick Hartzell, Mt. McKinley National Park)