Saturday, May 14, 2011

Denali: Names of Injured Persons & Fatality Released in Mt. McKinley Climbing Accident

The National Park Service released the names of the climbers involved in the fatal accident on Mt. McKinley May 11-12.  The following is the press release issued at 8:54am Alaska time, Saturday, May 14.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Maureen McLaughlin, (907) 733-9103

Climbers Involved in Mt. McKinley Rescue Identified

Two remaining injured climbers were evacuated from the 17,200-foot high camp on Mt. McKinley in the afternoon of Friday, May 13. Mountain Trip guide Dave Staeheli, age 56, of Wasilla, Alaska and client Lawrence Cutler, age 45, of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, suffered from frostbite to the hands and feet after a night spent at high elevation in cold temperatures and gusty winds. Staeheli also sustained a broken rib. On Friday afternoon it was determined that the two men could not safely descend the mountain on foot, so a helicopter evacuation was initiated. Both men were individually shorthauled from the 17,200-foot camp to the 14,200-foot camp by NPS ranger John Loomis and B3 helicopter pilot Andy Hermansky. From there, the helicopter flew them down to the Kahiltna Basecamp for a fixed wing flight back to Talkeetna.

On the previous night of May 12, fellow teammate Jeremiah O¹Sullivan, age 40, of Ballinhassig, Ireland, was rescued from 19,500-feet on Mt. McKinley with a broken leg and severe frostbite to the legs, hands, and face. The fourth member of the rope team, 38-year-old Beat Niederer of St. Gallen, Switzerland died from unknown causes near 18,000 feet. Neiderer¹s body was recovered late Thursday night via helicopter shorthaul.

An additional client who had turned back along with a guide earlier during the day of the summit bid due to frostbite on his fingers was evacuated from the 14,200-foot camp by the NPS Thursday afternoon. He has been identified as Tony Diskin, age 33, of Westmeath, Ireland.

As of the morning of May 14, there were 282 climbers attempting Mt. McKinley. Eight summits have been recorded thus far. A total of 1,029 climbers are registered to climb during the 2011 season.


Maureen McLaughlin
Mountaineering Administration and Public Information
Talkeetna Ranger Station
Denali National Park & Preserve
PO Box 588
Talkeetna, Alaska 99676

(907) 733-9103 (phone)
(907) 733-1465 (fax)

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