Climber injured in Denali Pass

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2002

TALKEETNA - A German climber who suffered broken ribs in a fall on Mount McKinley on Friday night was airlifted off the mountain Saturday.

National Park Service spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said Kunibert Gramlich, 53, part of a seven-member Swiss expedition, fell while descending in Denali Pass between 17,400 and 18,200 feet.

Gramlich was alone when he fell. He dug into the snow and camped for the night, then walked into the ranger camp at 17,200 feet at 8 a.m. Saturday.

A volunteer physician provided medical care. When Gramlich continued to experience breathing problems, and because of fears of internal injuries, he was flown by helicopter to the 7,200-foot base camp and then to an Anchorage hospital. Gramlich also suffered a spleen injury, McLaughlin said.

Two members of a Spanish climbing team were injured, one seriously, when they fell while descending Wednesday in the same area. All three injured climbers had attempted a climb in one day to reach the 20,320-foot summit from the 14,000 foot level rather than acclimatizing at the 17,200-foot level for a day or so, McLaughlin said.

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