Skier dies after falling 2,000 feet
A Finnish man died after falling about 2,000 feet into a crevasse while skiing on Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the National Park Service (NPS) said.
Ilkka Uusitalo, 36, had mountaineered high up North America’s highest peak Wednesday and was skiing down with two other climbers when he fell through ice and rocks, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.
It is the second death on Mount McKinley in less than a week, after German climber Steffen Machulka, 49, fell 1,000 feet on May 18 while trying to recover a backpack that had started to slide downhill.
Uusitalo fell while skiing at an altitude of about 17,800 feet on a 40- to 45-degree slope called the Orient Express. He landed in a crevasse at 15,850 feet, the NPS said in a statement.
One of Uusitalo’s friends skied down to a ranger station to raise the alarm, while the other skier descended into the crevasse by rope and discovered Uusitalo dead.
Rangers were able to haul his body out using ropes before it was flown by NPS helicopter to the town of Talkeetna.
Uusitalo was the 16th skier to have died during a descent of the Orient Express route, the NPS said.