Troopers won't recover body of Colorado guide

Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Rescue workers won't attempt to recover the body of a Colorado climbing guide who died Wednesday on the slopes of Mount Bona in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Members of Alaska Mountain Rescue Group went to the site of the fall and determined it wasn't possible to recover the body of David Paisley, a guide for Quest Adventures in Colorado Springs, Colo., troopers said Saturday.

Two clients roped to the 38-year-old Paisley said he dropped about 135 feet into a crevasse on Mount Bona, and was then buried by falling snow and debris. The accident occurred on the 16,421-foot peak about 40 miles east of McCarthy.

Paisley was guiding two other men, Ian Hugh Edmund Outram and Gautam Pardhy, troopers said. Both clients apparently are from Colorado.

The three men summited Mount Bona Tuesday and were headed down on Wednesday when the accident occurred about 5 p.m.

Paisley was roped to the other two climbers when he fell through a rotten snowbridge into the crevasse. He dragged the other men about 60 feet, nearly taking them into the crevasse with him.

The two men tried for several hours to rescue the guide, but could not pull him out.

They then hiked to their pickup point and were flown out Friday. Troopers went to the area late Friday with the rescue group and determined no recovery was possible.

Bob Jacobs, owner of St. Elias Alpine Guides in McCarthy, said one of his guides was descending from Mount Bona Wednesday with a client and met the two Paisley clients on the glacier.

Jacobs said the reports so far are sketchy, but ''basically it sounds like the same thing that happened to Mugs Stump.''

Stump was a legendary Alaska climber who died on Mount McKinley in 1992. He was descending a glacier with two clients when the client in the lead came to what he thought to be a crevasse field hidden under snow.

Stump was called ahead to investigate. He walked past the clients, leaving a long loop of slack in the climbing rope. When he broke through a snow-covered crevasse, he fell dozens of feet and dislodged a huge volume of debris that buried him. His body was never recovered.

Jacobs said it sounds like Paisley's body might be similarly buried. The St. Elias guide, he added, investigated the scene and concluded there was nothing more he or his client could do to free Paisley.

''No signs of life were noticed after Paisley fell, and he had equipment that would have allowed self-rescue,'' but did not use it, troopers said in a statement.

Paisley is the second mountaineer to die so far in this spring's climbing season. A Utah climber was killed May 25 when he was buried in an ice fall along the Ruth Glacier on the south side of Mount McKinley. His body has not been recovered due to unstable conditions in that area, and may remain there.

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