Friday, June 09, 2006

Sue Nott and Karen McNeill missing on Mt. Foraker

On May 14th, alpine climbers Sue Nott and Karen McNeill started up the Infinite Spur on Mt. Foraker in the Alaska Range. No one has seen them since they began climbing 26 days ago. Their plan was to climb this extremely difficult 9,400-foot route to Foraker’s 17,400-foot summit and then descend the Sultan Ridge. Expecting to be down by the 24th, they took 10 days’ worth of food and a little more fuel. The Denali National Park Service launched an aerial search on June 1st with a Lama helicopter. The search continues, now aided by fixed-wing planes, but it has been difficult due to bad weather and cloud cover. The 2nd day of searching revealed Nott’s backpack, and other items including a jacket and a glove were spotted during later flyovers. The NPS also spotted footprints at 16,400 feet. Both of these climbers have years of experience in the Alaska Range and elsewhere in the world. Two years ago, Sue and Karen climbed Denali’s difficult Cassin Ridge in poor conditions. We’re hoping for word of them stumbling into base camp with another harrowing story.

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