Searchers locate bodies of missing climbers

Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The bodies of two men who died descending Mount St. Elias last week have been spotted from the air, the National Park Service said Monday.

The bodies, however, are in areas currently too dangerous for recovery.

Aaron Martin of Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Reid Sanders of West Yellowstone, Mont., were descending Mount St. Elias on skis April 8 when they fell. John Griber, descending on a snowboard, was able to make it down to a forward camp and was rescued Wednesday with a fourth climber.

Pilot and outfitter Paul Claus spotted a body from the air Friday and returned Saturday with Griber, who identified it as Martin. Park service spokeswoman Jane Tranel said Martin apparently fell about 2,000 feet to the 16,000-foot level.

Claus and Griber also spotted the body of Reid Sanders at the 17,200-foot level. Tranel said Sanders fell almost 1,000 feet into an area riddled with crevasses.

Mount St. Elias is on the Alaska-Canada border at the northern end of Alaska's Panhandle. At 18,008 feet, it is the second tallest peak in the United States.

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