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Washington State woman killed on Alaska's Mount McKinley

National Park Service helicopter rescues German climber from Mount McKinley and locates the body of his partner, Sylvia Montag of Tacoma, Wash.
By Frances Burns   |   May 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM   |   Comments

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 9 (UPI) -- A Washington State woman died in a fall on Alaska's Mount McKinley after getting separated from her climbing partner, the National Park Service said Friday.

A helicopter spotted Sylvia Montag's body on the Peters Glacier late Wednesday. The same pilot returned to the area to rescue Mike Fuchs, 34, of Berlin, Germany, who was at the 17,200-foot high camp on the West Buttress.

Fuchs called rangers Monday morning to report that he and Montag had become separated while descending from the Denali Pass. At the time, the two were the only climbers above 14,200 feet on the mountain, and the only ranger was camped at 7,800 feet.

High winds and low visibility kept helicopters grounded Tuesday, when Fuchs requested a rescue.

During his calls, Fuchs said he and Montag had split their equipment between them. He had the phone and camp stove, while she had their tent.

Montag's body will be recovered when a ground crew can reach the pass, the Park Service said. Fuchs was treated at a hospital and released.

Montag, 39, was from Tacoma, Wash.

Fuchs and Montag started their early season summit attempt April 15. Fuchs told rangers that on May 3 they were trappedfor two nights.

McKinley, which stands at 20,237 feet, is the highest mountain in North America. It has 18,000 feet between its base and summit, the largest out of any mountain in the world.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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