Climber rescued after falling 2,000 feet on Mount McKinley

Published: June 6, 2008 | 7128th good news item since 2003

Mountaineers performed a complicated rope rescue Tuesday night on Mount McKinley to reach a climber after the man tumbled 2,000 feet down the mountain.

Denali National Park and Preserve officials said the climber, 44-year-old Claude Ratte, of Montreal, Candada, missed a step while descending the well-traveled West Buttress ridge and fell down a snow- and ice-covered stretch of the mountain with slopes between 35 and 40 degrees. His face and leg were badly injured. They said he used a satellite phone to call rescuers shortly before noon Tuesday.

A park spokeswoman said two teams reached Ratte within a few hours and joined for an elaborate, technical rope rescue that involved 14 ground rescuers and included the longest raising operation — Ratte was hoisted 2,000 feet by rope — in the history of mountaineering in Denali National Park.

Ratte was in serious but stable,\ condition at a camp at 14,200 feet on Mount McKinley this morning as park officials waited for the weather to clear so he can be flown to Anchorage for further medical care.

“It’s amazing the things that people live through,” said park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin.

Published in Rescues
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