Two American Climbers Found Dead on Mount McKinley
TALKEETNA, Alaska (AP) _ The bodies of two climbers missing on Mount McKinley were found by rescue helicopters hovering near the 16,000-foot level of North America’s tallest peak, a National Park Service spokesman said.
The bodies of Michael Koshuta, 33, of Centreville, Va., and Stuart Jones, 29, of Washington state were spotted Tuesday afternoon, said spokesman John Quinley. No hometown was immediately available for Jones.
The men were declared missing Tuesday, one day after a troubled Japanese climbing party that suffered the season’s first fatality was airlifted off the mountain.
There was no effort to remove the bodies from the 15,800-level because of the slope of the mountain and the threat of avalanche. Officials will decide later when it will be safe to return, Quinley said.
The men were roped together and appeared to have died after a fall, the spokesman said. They were last sighted June 1 at the 16,100-foot level. Mount McKinley is 20,320 feet tall.
Koshuta and Jones were experienced mountaineers who had climbed elsewhere in the Denali Range, Quinley said. There were no immediate clues as to what caused the accident or when it happened.
The two climbers were scheduled to complete their descent four days ago. Three food caches they left along their planned route down the mountain hadn’t been touched, Quinley said.
Denali National Park rangers began looking for them Monday as rangers and two Army Chinook helicopters rescued three frostbitten, ill Japanese climbers and lowered the body of a fourth Japanese to 14,000 feet. The helicopters began looking for the missing Americans on Tuesday.
The body of Hairoaki Ito, who died Sunday of altitude sickness, was expected to remain at 14,000 feet until friends could arrange for its removal or until an Army helicopter is called to the area on other business, Quinley said.