American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

AMS — No Incident, Alaska, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998


Alaska, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

Kim Jae Suk and Park Jae Il (24) of the Korean Palgong Kyung Ju party ascended the Messner Couloir on May 28. Il became ill with Acute Mountain Sickness over half way up the route, requiring eighteen hours to reach the top at midnight. At 0105 on the 29th, Suk requested a helicopter evacuation for Il from the 19,400 foot level. Two other members in the Palgong party ascended from 17,200 feet on the West Buttress to provide assistance. Once they reached Il, they were able to determine that he could descend with their assistance. At 0340, they radioed out this information and that no rescue was needed. Il descended safely with their support.


Here’s a good example of team effort and self-sufficiency. With a little prompting, the rescue pair was more than willing to climb up through the cold hours of the evening to help a team member. In so many other rescues, climbers either give up or assume they will be rescued. It was a relief to see this Korean party work together to assist their ill person down. (Source: Roger Robinson, Mountaineering Ranger)

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