McKinley Rescue

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE (AP) -- A Russian climber injured after reaching the summit of Mount McKinley was treated and released at an Anchorage hospital early Tuesday.

A team of rescue climbers reached Lev Sarikov, 61, from the former Soviet republic of Georgia and carried him down to a ranger camp at the mountain's 14,200-foot level Monday night, a National Park Service spokeswoman said.

''They got to him in a window of weather that was clear for about an hour,'' Jane Tranel said. ''An Army Chinook helicopter took him to Talkeetna.

''He was transported from there to Anchorage where he was treated for broken ribs and (was) released from the emergency room early this morning.''

Sarikov, who is in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the oldest person to summit Mount Everest and has been climbing for 40 years, said McKinley presents special challenges.

''McKinley technically is not that hard. It's relatively easy, but small changes in the weather can make McKinley the worst nightmare,'' he told KTUU-TV.

Sarikov was descending the mountain's West Buttress Saturday night when he fell about 20 feet, injuring some ribs and bruising his back. The fall occurred at 17,400 feet of the 20,320-foot peak, Tranel said.

Nearby climbers carried the injured man to a high base camp, where he was placed in the care of Park Service mountaineering rangers and two members of the Alaska Air National Guard.

High winds and whiteout conditions had delayed a helicopter pickup, requiring the team of rescue climbers to assist.

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