Surviving climbing partner rescued from Denali

After having been holed up for four days on a narrow ledge, a Belgian climber whose partner died on Monday in a fall, was rescued by Denali National Park rescue personnel.Rangers managed to get to Sam Van Brempt around midnight on Thursday.  Van Brempt, age 24,  had awaited rescue since Monday, June 7, the day his partner Joris Van Reeth, age 27, was killed in a climbing fall. They were attempting to summit Denali via the technically difficult Cassin Ridge route.

Bad weather had hampered the rescue of Van Brempt and the evacuation of Van Reeth’s body. Besides the National Park Service’s helicopter, the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage dispatched three rescue squadrons from Elmendorf Air Force Base to attempt an evacuation on Wednesday and Thursday, but persistent clouds kept the crews at bay.

When weather cleared, the park’s helicopter flew out again and found the climber. Van Brempt got into the rescue basket attached to the helicopter’s shorthaul line and was flown back to the staging camp and eventually back to Talkeetna. Rangers are waiting for another break in the weather to retrieve the body of Van Reeth.

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