Search Underway For Missing Climber On Mt. McKinley

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Jeffshadows
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Joined: Jan 30 2008 8:46 am
City, State: Old Pueblo

Search Underway For Missing Climber On Mt. McKinley

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DENALI NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE
Search Underway For Missing Climber On Mt. McKinley

Gerald Myers, a 41-year-old resident of Centennial, Colorado, began a long solo bid for the summit of Mt. McKinley during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 19th. According to a note left for his three climbing partners, Myers departed the 14,200-foot camp around 4:30 a.m. He was next seen at the 17,200-foot high camp at approximately 11:00 a.m. that same morning, grabbing his skis and digging into a cache that the team had left there on a previous acclimatization day. Other sightings that afternoon were made on the traverse to Denali Pass at 18,600 feet and then again near 18,900 feet. According to rangers on patrol at high camp, Myers did not return to camp on Tuesday night. During their investigations the following day, rangers learned that Myers was seen by another party at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday as he climbed the ridge approaching the mountain’s 20,320-foot summit. Members of a team travelling approximately two hours behind the earlier party did not see any sign of the soloist during their summit bid, and Myers did not return to high camp Wednesday night. At the time, weather high on the mountain was deteriorating, with winds gusting 40 to 50 mph. An aerial search in an Air National Guard HC-130 Hercules was conducted yesterday. Although Myers was not seen, there was considerable cloud cover and high winds at upper elevation that greatly limited the search. Myers was reportedly carrying skis on his backpack when he was spotted near the summit. Based on equipment left at various caches on the mountain, it is expected that Myers was carrying minimal survival gear at the time of his disappearance. While he departed camp in warm clothing, Myers was travelling light and did not appear to take a sleeping bag, thermal pad, bivy sac, or a stove for melting snow. It is unknown how much food or water he had in his pack. According to his partners, the climber was likely carrying his FRS ‘family band’ radio as well as a SPOT locator beacon. Myers had programmed his SPOT device with three button settings: “OK, moving up”, “OK, but not moving”, and “911”. According to the GPS data recorded by the SPOT, the last electronically recorded location was the 17,200-foot camp at 10:50 a.m. on May 19, when Myers had recorded his position by pressing the “OK, moving up” button. Throughout his trip, Myers had reportedly been making one position recording each day. Aerial searching will continue as visibility and winds allow. NPS rangers and volunteers at the 14,200-foot camp and at high camp have been conducting visual searches via spotting scope of possible ski descent routes. Currently, visibility is generally obscured by clouds, with wind gusting to 45 mph near the summit.
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Jeffshadows
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Joined: Jan 30 2008 8:46 am
City, State: Old Pueblo

Re: Search Underway For Missing Climber On Mt. McKinley

Post by Jeffshadows »

DENALI NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE
Aerial Search For Missing Climber Suspended

The active search for solo climber Dr. Gerald Myers was scaled back on Tuesday afternoon after search managers determined that further air operations were unlikely to locate him. There has been no sighting of the solo climber or his gear during six days of aerial and ground searching. Although no more flights are anticipated, ranger staff will continue to search through the thousands of high resolution images taken during the flights in search of clues to Myers’ whereabouts. Myers began his summit bid from the 14,200-foot camp the morning of Tuesday, May 19th. He was sighted at various elevations along the West Buttress route that day, the highest of which was somewhere between 18,000 and 19,000 feet. Myers did not return to high camp on Tuesday night. An individual climber was observed on the summit ridge the afternoon of Wednesday, May 20th, although it cannot be confirmed that it was Myers. Myers was seen to be carrying only a small daypack with minimal survival gear at the time of his disappearance. He did not take a stove for melting snow, and it’s not known how much food he had in his pack. Throughout his climb, Myers carried an FRS radio and a SPOT locator device; the last GPS location reported by the SPOT device was at the 17,200-foot camp on May 19th. Throughout his trip, Myers had been making at least one position recording each day. In light of his limited supplies and the subzero temperatures, search managers consider that survival is outside the window of possibility. Observers have thoroughly searched the route and surrounding areas and it’s believed that there’s a high probability they would have found any climbers visible on the surface.
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