Denali Pass, a steep exposed area above the 17,200-foot high camp on Denali (20,320'), was the scene of four climbing fatalities this month. The disasters on Denali Pass started on May 12 when Beat Niederer of Switzerland perished after becoming separated from the rest of his group after a fall that injured other members of his team. Four days later Luciano Colombo of Italy died in the same area after being unable to arrest a fall from Denali Pass. On May 25 a party of four fell over 1,000 feet from Denali Pass killing Suzanne Allen, a guide from Washington, Peter Bullard of China and leaving the rest of the team critically injured. Kris Fister, spokesperson for Denali National Park told Alpinist.com, "Hard packed snow on Denali Pass makes the area more difficult than in an average year. We recommend that climbers clip into the fixed pickets as it is very difficult if not impossible to self-arrest a fall in that area."
Climbers watch a helicopter rescue below 11,200-foot Camp on Denali. [Photo] Keese Lane