by Phillip Manning ~ July 10th, 2014
It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for the Denali Report. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has one last report as the climbing season winds down:
It’s July, which means that climbing season is nearing an end. In total, 1,204 climbers registered to attempt Denali. Sixty-one are still listed on the mountain. 1,142 climbs have been completed, and there have been 420 summits. That makes the success rate thirty-seven percent. On Mt. Foraker, twelve climbers registered, and half made it to the top.
The summit numbers for Denali represent the lowest percentage of summits since 1998. It seems especially low after last year’s record-setting year of 787 summits, and a success rate of sixty-eight percent. As I’ve reported over the last month, weather has been a major factor. Snowfall and wind make for dangerous climbing conditions, and often turn teams back before reaching North America’s tallest peak.
Last year was also notable for how safe the climbing season was, in general. There were fewer rescue calls than normal in a given season. This year, the weather meant more frostbite and riskier climbing in general. That was made apparent early in the season with the death of climber Sylvia Montag of Washington. Thankfully, no other fatal accidents have been reported since then.
A more complete picture of the climbing season, including details of climbing injuries, will be made available when the National Park Service publishes its annual mountaineering summary later this year.