MCKINLEY: Rangers and volunteers work to help Korean man hurt in a fall.
By PETER PORCO
Anchorage Daily News
(Published: May 22, 2004)
Rescuers on Mount McKinley Friday night were lowering a 40-year-old Korean climber who had been injured in a fall high on the mountain, the National Park Service said.
Update Published on May 23, 2004
Weather blocks copter; team moves injured climber down McKinley
A rescue team of rangers and volunteers were bringing an injured South Korean climber down from a point high on Mount McKinley on Saturday after snowfall and poor visibility blocked a helicopter evacuation attempt.
Miriam Valentine, a spokeswoman for Denali National Park at the Talkeetna ranger station, said climber Il Ho Cho is awake but shows symptoms of head injury, suffers from frostbite and is not able to walk.
One team is moving the injured man down from the 17,200-foot camp, while another team is climbing from a main camp at 14,200 to help. The move to the lower camp could be accomplished by late Saturday night or finished today, Valentine said.
If the weather breaks, she said, another attempt will be made by high-altitude helicopter to take the climber to a hospital. There are tents and support facilities at the 14,200-foot camp, she said, and a medical student to assist in Il's care.
Il was said to have been injured in a fall above 18,200-foot Denali Pass.
He is from the city of Daejeon and is the leader of the Daejeon Mount McKinley Expedition, the National Park Service said. It is one of several Korean climbing teams on McKinley.
-- Anchorage Daily News
National Park Service Morning Report - May 25, 2004
Climber Rescued from Mt. McKinley
A multi-day rescue effort to save an injured Korean climber was begun on Thursday, May 20th, following a late night emergency call to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (RCC), which in turn notified mountaineering staff at Denali National Park & Preserve. Forty-year-old Il Ho Cho of South Korea, leader of the Daejeon Mt. McKinley Expedition, reportedly fell 50 to 60 feet just above Denali Pass at 18,300 feet during a descent of the West Buttress route. Cho was unable to descend any further due to his injuries. Climbing partners wrapped him in layers of down clothing, insulated him from the snow with a backpack, then descended to the 17,200-foot high camp to get help. Throughout the early morning hours, members of several Korean climbing parties made two separate attempts to return to Cho with emergency supplies, but were turned back by high winds and whiteout conditions. On Friday morning, a Hercules HC-130 aircraft from the 210th Rescue Squadron out of Kulis Air Force Base in Anchorage flew to the park, but could not find Cho due to overcast skies. In a remarkable 15-hour push made on Friday, an NPS ground rescue team climbed from the 14,200 foot ranger camp to where Cho lay at 18,300 feet. The team then executed a technical lowering of the injured climber, reaching high camp at about 10 p.m. The team was led by Renny Jackson, a climbing ranger from Grand Teton National Park on temporary detail to Denali. Jackson’s team consisted of four other Teton climbing rangers who volunteered their time to join Jackson during his detail.At high camp, Cho was stabilized and treated overnight for exhaustion, hypothermia, dehydration, frostbite, and a possible head injury. On Saturday, poor visibility continued to preclude a helicopter evacuation, so Jackson led a further technical rope lowering of Cho down the "Rescue Gully" from the 17,200-foot high camp to the 14,200-foot ranger camp. This was the second time in a week that the Grand Teton-based patrol and other volunteers had executed a 3,000-foot rope lowering of an injured climber down the Rescue Gully. When skies cleared on Monday morning, May 24th, the park's contract high altitude Lama helicopter flew into the 14,200-foot camp and evacuated Cho to 7,200-foot basecamp, where he was transferred to an airplane and taken to Anchorage for further medical care. Denali mountaineering ranger Gordy Kito served as the incident commander for the rescue, with mountaineering ranger John Evans directing ground operations from the 14,200-foot camp. The overall effort involved the entire South District ranger staff, the 210th Rescue Squadron, and over 35 volunteers at various camps on the mountain.
*** Bonus Denali Article ***
A dangerous calling
Each spring hundreds of climbers fight weather, ice and thin air in an attempt to scale rugged Mount McKinley
By CRAIG MEDRED
Anchorage Daily News
(Published: May 23, 2004)
MOUNT McKINLEY, 14,200-FOOT CAMP -- Pounded by a gray torrent of snow driven by the winds exploding down the flanks of the West Buttress, the fabled pararescue men from Alaska's Kulis Air National Guard Base battled upward in ghostly rope teams of three.