Climber Rescued on Denali After Falling 2000 Feet

I came across this story while reading the National Parks Traveler Blog earlier. It seems that a man climbing solo on Denali had to be rescued by Rangers after he plunged more than 2000 feet down the side of the mountain.

The 44 year-old man has been identified as Claude Ratté of Montreal, Canada. He was descending the mountain along the West Buttress route when he lost his footing and slid down the side of the mountain. He was at approximately 16,400 feet when the incident occurred, and is described as having suffered facial trauma and a leg and ankle injury.

Using his own satellite phone to call for help, Ratté soon was put in touch with the National Park Rangers, who immediately began organizing a ground rescue. The thick cloud cover prevented them from using a helicopter to make the rescue attempt.

The Rangers in camp at 17,200 feet actually scrambled down the mountain to help, and were on the scene in approximately 3 to 4 hours. From there, they loaded Ratté onto a litter and began the long, slow, arduous task of lowering him down the mountain. Nearly 11 hours later he was down and safe.

All of this happened yesterday, and as of this morning, Ratté was still on the mountain, waiting for the weather to clear so they could evacuate him from the mountain and get him to a hospital. He is listed as being in serious but stable condition.

Kraig Becker

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