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Two climbers die in avalanche on Mt. Francis in Alaska Range

by Sue Deyoe ~ May 25th, 2011

Two overdue climbers on Mount Frances in the Alaska Range are confirmed dead.

Denali National Park mountaineering rangers located the remains of 33 year old Jiro Kurihara  of Canada and Junya Shiraishi, age 28, of Japan in avalanche debris on Mt. Frances, a technical peak just north of the Kahiltna basecamp on Denali.

The two men were last seen at basecamp on May 21st and were attempting a new route on the technical peak when the avalanche hit.

NPS rangers started a search after the two men did not return to their campsite on May 23rd.  An aerial search of the area provided a glimpse of the aftermath of the avalanche.

Rangers were able to locate and recover the bodies of both men using the rescue helicopter via shorthaul technique this morning  and bring them back to basecamp.

The 2 climbers flew into Denali’s basecamp on April 27th with intentions of climbing the Cassin Ridge , another technically challenging route.  They climbed the West Buttress route to acclimatize and then headed to Mt. Frances.

Acccording to records, it is the first two fatalities on Mount Frances.

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