Colorado climber missing on Mount McKinley

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ” An aerial search has started for a Colorado man missing during a solo climb of Mount McKinley.

Denali National Park Service spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said there was no sighting of 41-year-old Gerald Myers of Centennial, Colo., on Thursday.

Myers began a solo climb to the summit of North America’s tallest mountain on Tuesday morning. He was last seen Wednesday afternoon as he climbed the ridge approaching McKinley’s 20,320-foot summit.

A team traveling about two hours behind did not see any signs of Myers. He had skis with him, but little survival gear.

According to a note left for his three climbing partners, Myers departed the 14,200-foot camp around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday. He was next seen at the 17,200-foot high camp at approximately 11:00 a.m. that same morning, where he grabbed his skis and dug into a cache that the team had left on a previous acclimatization climb.

Other sightings that afternoon were made on the traverse to Denali Pass at 18,600 feet and then again near 18,900 feet. Park rangers at the high camp said Myers did not return to camp Tuesday night.

While he departed camp in warm clothing, Myers was traveling light and did not appear to take a sleeping bag, thermal pad, bivy sac, or a stove for melting snow. It was not known how much food or water he had in his pack.

Rangers and volunteers at the 14,200-foot camp and at high camp have been using spotting scopes of possible routes Myers could be using. However, visibility was obscured by clouds, with wind gusting to 45 mph near the summit.

According to the National Park Service, aerial searches will continue as weather allows.