• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 3s

Climber killed following fall on Denali

By KTVA CBS 11 News 10:33 AM May 9, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A 39-year-old climber from Tacoma, Washington was killed after a fall from Denali Pass earlier this week, according to the National Park Service.

Syliva Montag was part of a two-person climbing team that began ascending the mountain April 15 by the Muldrow Glacier route. A statement released by the NPS Friday morning said Montag became separated from her climbing partner, 34-year-old Mike Fuchs, while descending Denali Pass in a storm May 5. Fuchs contacted the Talkeetna ranger station via satellite phone Monday and said the pair began the descent after high winds forced them to camp near the pass for two nights.

Fuchs told troopers that he and his climbing parter were weakened from camping and were not roped together when they became separated, according to NPS. Fuchs and Montag did not have radio communications with each other, and Fuchs told rangers each climber carried only partial survival gear.

While Fuchs made it to a camp 17,200 feet up the West Buttress with the satellite phone and camp stove, he said Montag carried the tent and food and was nowhere to be seen.

There were high winds Monday, NPS said, and Fuchs took shelter in a metal storage locker used to store emergency supplies at 17,200 feet. The next morning, he called rangers again to request a rescue, but NPS said high winds and low visibility made it impossible. Fuchs and Montag were the only climbers on the mountain above 14,200 feet, and the park service said the only ranger patrol on the mountain was camped at 7,800 feet.

By May 7 the winds had calmed, NPS said, and Fuchs had still not seen his climbing partner since the descent from Denali Pass several days before. The Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson launched a Hercules C-130 from the 210th Rescue Squadron to provide aerial reconnaissance at noon Wednesday. Montag was nowhere to be seen, NPS said.

Wednesday evening, the skies finally began to clear, and Denali National Park launched a high-altitude helicopter and NPS mountaineering ranger to Denali Pass along with the C-130. After several passes, NPS said, the helicopter crew spotted Montag’s body 800-1,000 feet below Denali Pass on Peters Glacier. Fuchs was spotted standing near the camp at 17,200 feet.

Fuchs was lifted from the camp using a rescue basket attached under the helicopter, NPS said, and eventually released at Talkeetna State Airport following a medical assessment. Montag’s body will be removed by an NPS ground team once they reach the 17,200-foot camp, the park service said.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Day 2: Courting the Native vote

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 24, 23:31

    Candidates have traditionally courted the Alaska Native vote at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this election-season ritual has reached a fever pitch this year. Some of that could be due to the formation of the Unity ticket; the merged campaigns of Bill Walker, who was running as an independent candidate for governor, and […]

  • News

    Steese Highway collision kills 1

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 23:00

    One person is dead and another injured following a head-on crash outside Fairbanks Friday night, Alaska State Troopers said. The collision on the Steese Highway near Hagelbarger Avenue was reported to troopers in Fairbanks just before 7:15 p.m., according to an AST dispatch. One person was seriously injured and later succumbed to their injuries, troopers […]

  • News

    South Anchorage crash injures 1, temporarily closes highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 22:15

    Both lanes of the Seward Highway were closed for more than two hours Friday evening following a two-vehicle collision that left one person hospitalized. According to the Anchorage Police Department, the crash happened just after 5:30 p.m. near the highway’s intersection with O’Malley Road. A vehicle heading north crossed the median and hit another vehicle […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 24

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 24, 19:58

     

  • News

    Dam expansion increases Sitka’s power production

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 24, 19:44

    The Blue Lake Project in Sitka is set to dramatically increase the production of hydroelectricity for the city. Five miles out of town, up a one-lane dirt road, tucked into the mountains, construction crews work on the expansion in the windy canyon. The project is so massive it takes Alaska’s largest, 600-ton crane to make […]

  • News

    Anchorage mom loses boxing match, still wins big

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 24, 19:18

    Maria Edwards had never boxed before she got in the ring Thursday night at the Egan Center. But she had a good reason for taking part in Anchorage’s Thursday Night Fights: She was trying to earn enough cash to afford gymnastic lessons for her 3-year-old son. Edwards had her eye on the prize money, $50 […]

  • News

    Complaints lead to towing ordinance update

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 24, 18:46

    Anchorage residents who are angry over inconsistent and often exorbitant towing fees may soon see some relief. The Anchorage Assembly discussed a proposed amendment to the municipal towing ordinance Friday. The amendment would cap the price of non-consensual tows, such as when cars are towed from private lots, at $225. It also prevents towing companies from […]

  • News

    Assembly debates software program audit

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 24, 18:06

    Anchorage Assembly members met Friday to discuss how to best move forward with the municipality’s troubled software overhaul. Members debated conducting an independent audit of the SAP program, which is designed to automate many aspects of government, including payroll. But the program is three years overdue and more than $20 million over budget. Assembly members […]