Philip Fedewa 7/10/98 East Twin Peak Hiker Fall

Hiker falls to his death in state park
By Peter Porco, ADN 7/11/98

A 21-year-old man hiking with friends in the rugged mountains above Eklutna Lake fell to his death late Friday afternoon, authorities said.

The name of the man was not released Friday night because his relatives had not been notified. The man spent summers in Anchorage and winters in East Lansing, Mich., said Frank Wesser, a Chugach State Park ranger.

The man fell while scrambling on steep rocky terrain high on East Twin Peak north of Eklutna Lake, Wesser said. The man had climbed on ahead of his friends, a man and a woman, and out of their sight. They heard him cry out and heard rocks falling.

An Alaska Air National Guard helicopter dropped off rescuers, who descended to the site Friday evening and found the man's body, said Capt. Mike Haller, public affairs officer.

Members of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group were attempting Friday night to remove the body to a spot where a helicopter could hoist it off the mountain. The body lay in a difficult place between 4,500 and 4,800 feet up, Wesser said. East Twin Peak is 5,873 feet high.

Earlier the three had ventured out from the Eklutna Lake Campground on the popular Twin Peaks Trail, Wesser said. They wore day packs and brought no technical mountaineering gear, nor were they experienced climbers, he said.

"They were doing some mountaineering scrambling," said Wesser.

The trail goes generally northward and ends at a saddle between East and West Twin Peaks. The three hikers apparently entered a steep bowl below the saddle and traversed west across the face.

The man took off far ahead of his friends until they lost sight of him in the outcrops and ledges, Wesser said.

"They saw him get up pretty high and then they heard what sounded like a fatal fall," he said.

The two ran down the trail to the ranger station at the campground.

"They knew they had a serious situation," Wesser said.

East Twin and its fellow "sister peaks" - West Twin and Goat Rock - form a dramatic group of spires southwest of Pioneer Peak and loom prominently above Palmer and the Matanuska Valley.