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Four Climbers Missing on Denali

Four Japanese climbers are missing and presumed dead after a major avalanche swept the West Buttress of Denali on Thursday morning. The slide tore loose at a point known as “Motorcycle Hill” at approximately 11,800 feet and had a crown measuring roughly 200 feet wide with a slide path 800 feet long.

Motorcycle Hill from 11 Camp on Denali’s West Buttress. [Photo] Keese Lane

Only one member of the five-man rope team, Hitoshi Ogi (69), survived after being swept into a crevasse after the rope connecting him to the rest of the team broke. Yoshiaki Kato (64), Masako Suda (50), Michiko Suzuki (56) and Tamao Suzuki (63) are still missing and presumed dead.

The team was part of the Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation expedition and was on the way down the mountain at the time of the avalanche. Over 400 climbers are currently on the mountain involved in the search effort despite strong winds and recent snowfall.

Sources: Reuters, The Globe and Mail