JUNEAU, Alaska – Two climbers died after a 1,900-foot fall during a descent of Mount McKinley — North America's highest mountain — Denali National Park and Reserve officials said Friday.
A third team member had stayed behind at a lower elevation level, National Park Service spokeswoman Kris Fister said.
Mountaineering ranger patrol members at the 17,200-foot level witnessed the fall that began just shy of the 19,000-foot mark. The roped pair fell to an elevation level just below where the patrol was stationed.
The deaths were the first climbing fatalities on 20,320-foot Mount McKinley since two Ohio men died in May 2005, Fister said.
Takahashi was from Lake Forest Park, Wash., north of Seattle. Massey, of North Bend, Wash., was a firefighter for the Kent Fire Department, said Capt. Kyle Ohashi, a department spokesman.
As of mid-afternoon Friday, both climbers were to remain on the mountain until flying conditions permitted a recovery, Fister said.