Ice climbers rescued off Mt. Juneau

Rope became stuck as climbers tried to descend mountain

Posted: Thursday, February 03, 2000

Rescuers helped two ice climbers off the side of Mount Juneau on Wednesday night. The climbers were trapped when a rope became stuck and darkness fell, said Karl Bausler, a member of the Juneau Mountain Rescue Team.

Their plight came to the attention of rescuers when a Basin Road resident saw the climbers' flashlight about halfway up the mountain and called police about 7:45 p.m., police said.

Police Lt. Walt Boman said an officer drove up Basin Road and called out to the climbers through the public address system, asking them to respond by flashing their lights.

``He had them flash twice for yes and once for no, I think,'' Boman said.

Using that system, police were able to establish that they were indeed stuck, but they weren't hurt, he said.

The Alaska State Troopers, who handle search and rescue operations, were called out, as well as the volunteer Juneau Mountain Rescue Team and Capital City Fire and Rescue's mountain rescue team.

Troopers identified the climbers as Melissa Goozen, 29, of Juneau and Crawford Parr, 37, of Dillingham.

Once police had floodlights shining on the mountainside, Parr was able to climb back up to where his rope had been stuck and free it, Bausler said.

Juneau Mountain Rescue workers used ropes to help the climbers back down to a less steep area and then walked out with them. The rescue operation ended about 11:30 p.m., Bausler said.

The couple had been climbing up Chap Gully, an icefall visible from Basin Road that is also an avalanche path, Bausler said. They had started their climb about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and had made it to near the top and were on their way back down when a rope they were using to descend became stuck, Bausler said.

Rescuers had to climb through avalanche debris, apparently from an avalanche late last week, to reach them, Bausler said. Working in an avalanche path is always somewhat risky, he said, but clear, cold conditions Wednesday night lessened the danger. Rescuers were equipped with avalanche beacons.

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