American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Frostbite, Exposure, Inadequate Equipment, Exhaustion, Weather, Alaska, Mount McKinley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


Alaska, Mount McKinley

On June 5, 1985, while “comfortably camped” in an igloo at 5300 meters in some nasty, but not awful, weather, we were awakened by two Dutch climbers who had come over the summit ridge from the Cassin Route. They had been out two days, having left with six days of food, and both were frostbitten and exhausted. We provided them with food and hot water, helped them unpack, and later pack, and descend. They could have managed this by themselves, but I have no doubt that they would have had worse frostbite if they had not run across us, as the weather stayed cold and stormy. (Source: Dr. James Edwards, Portland, OR)


Even though they had been in the area for six weeks, they seemed to have underestimated the severity of the conditions. Their tent and handwear were inadequate. A couple from Colorado were on the route at the same time, and were able, to camp higher up for a longer period of time—emerging unscathed. (Source: Dr. James Edwards, Portland, OR)

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