Helicopter crash victims included highly experienced mountain guides

Rescuers found one survivor after a helicopter went down in the area near Knik Glacier Saturday...
Rescuers found one survivor after a helicopter went down in the area near Knik Glacier Saturday evening. Five others in the helicopter were found dead, according to the Alaska State Troopers.(KTUU)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 10:14 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As more details are uncovered in the investigation into the helicopter crash near Knik Glacier that left five people dead and one lone survivor in the hospital, news of the crash is making waves in the mountain guide community.

Two of the victims were highly skilled and experienced mountain guides. 52-year-old Gregory Harms of Colorado is listed as the main guide for Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, where the helicopter was supposed to land.

38-year-old Sean McManamy, is listed as a guide for the lodge as well, and is highly respected by former employer, Todd Rutledge of Mountain Trips — a mountain guide adventure company that takes people on mountains around the world.

Rutledge said McManamy came recommended with his wife to Mountain Trips by a longtime Denali Mountain guide back in 2007. He said McManamy became one of the best assets the company had.

“Since that time he’s led 15 teams up the mountain [Denali] for us,” Rutledge said. “Sean’s responsibility for several years was just making sure all of those trips got out the door okay and was the point of contact if any of those guides needed anything from the field. Sean was the first person they’d call.”

Rutledge went on to explain the magnitude of McManamy’s guiding resume. He said McManamy helped lead one of only five expeditions up the complex northwest buttress of Denali. He said that route is known as one of the most remote, demanding, and technical routes up the mountain.

Rutledge said he and other members of the world mountain guide community lost one of the best in the business, a friend, and a mentor.

He added that McManamy was also a guide for Chugach Powder Guides for years, and was an instructor at the Alaska Avalanche School.

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