Searchers Find Bodies of Missing Climbers Near Summit of 7,000-Foot Carpathian Peak
The bodies of three climbers missing for nearly a week were spotted yesterday near the summit of Carpathian Peak southeast of Portage, Alaska State Troopers said today.
Rescuers were working today to recover the bodies of Don Paulke and Linda Hesting, both of Anchorage, and Jeff Moller, of Boston, troopers said.
Late Wednesday a helicopter from Elmendorf Air Force Base reported sighting what looked like people or equipment on Skookum Glacier near the summit of 7,000-foot Carpathian Peak, but the chopper was forced to leave due to bad weather conditions.
"Weather has been the bugaboo all along," trooper Sgt. Al Pacheco said today.
"We're doing everything possible to get those people out of there," Pacheco said.
Climbers from the volunteer Alaska Rescue Group reached the area of the sighting yesterday and reported finding the victims still tied to their climbing gear, strung out in a line about 1,000-feet from the summit, the Associated Press said.
"It looks as though they took a bad fall," one rescuer was quoted as saying.
The victims left Portage July 29 to climb to the summit of Carpathian Peak and were expected back Sunday evening. Their camp was found Tuesday by Paulke's brother David and four other climbers.
The weather closed in at that point and rescuers were hampered by bad weather until yesterday when the bodies were found.
Rescuers Recover Body
Rescue personnel have recovered the body of a Boston man but have abandoned attempts to bring back two others from Skookum Glacier, State Troopers report.
Searchers managed to transfer the remains of Jeff Moller to a helicopter before 80 mile-per-hour winds and freezing temperatures forced the air evacuation of the rescue personnel, a spokesman for the troopers said.
Authorities identified the others as Don Paulke and Linda Hesting, both of Anchorage.
Attempts to recover the two bodies have been suspended until further notice, he said.
The climbers had been missing since July 31. They were located still tied to their climbing gear, strung out in a line about 1,000 feet below the 7,000 foot summit of the mountain, officials said.
The spokesman said the three had scaled a mountain peak to the left of the glacier, about 40 miles south of Anchorage, and were descending on a ridge when the party apparently fell about 1,000 feet.