Fallen climber on Denali found alive

Fallen climber on Denali found alive
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 2:29 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 6:08 AM AKDT
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TALKEETNA, Alaska (KTUU) - A climber who fell from the 16,000-foot ridge on the West Buttress of Denali has been found alive.

The climber had minor injuries, according to a statement from Denali National Park and Preserve. A mountaineering ranger was able to evacuate the climber from the 15,100-foot level.

The statement from the park identifies the climber as Tatsuto Hatanaka, 24, of Setagaya-ku, Japan. Hatanaka was climbing with a partner on the West Buttress climbing route on Denali just above the fixed line at 16,200 feet.

At about 11 p.m. Friday, Hatanaka’s partner saw him fall from the ridge, but could not access or see where he came to rest.

An aerial and ground search began Saturday morning after park rangers were notified of the fall around 2 a.m. Two mountaineering rangers from the 14,200-foot camp were able to see Hatanaka’s location at about 15,100 feet on upper Peters Glacier.

“Alaska Rescue Coordination Center had a C-130 fixed-wing military aircraft looking for holes in the cloud ceiling to direct park service’s high-altitude helicopter to Hatanaka’s location,” the park service statement read.

Hatanaka was taken by a Life Med helicopter to a hospital.

This story has been updated with additional information.