Four climbers were plucked from Mount McKinley Wednesday, three of them from elevations above 19,000 feet, Denali National Park and Preserve officials reported.
At 2 a.m. Wednesday, ranger staff at the 14,200-foot camp on the mountain received a radio message from three climbers needing help.
One of the mountaineers, Camilo Lopez, 28, from Longmont, Colo., was hypothermic, dehydrated and suffering from altitude sickness. His climbing partners, Peter Hoffman and Jan Markup, both from the Czech Republic, were weakened from a long night spent at high altitudes, the park reported.
The rescue involved three short hauls with a park-contracted high-altitude Lama helicopter. Pilot Jim Hood flew to where the three were stuck on the Messner Couloir route and had to hover while Lopez, the most critical patient, strapped himself into the rescue basket. Hood flew a dangling Lopez to the Kahiltna base camp located at 7,200 feet. Hood returned twice to evacuate Hoffman and Markup to the base camp.
A LifeGuard Air Ambulance then transported Lopez to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and the other two were flown to Talkeetna via air taxi.
The final leg of the rescue mission for Hood was evacuating another injured climber from the 14,200-foot ranger camp to base camp in an unrelated incident, the park service said.