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Date: 2010-05-29
Submitted By: Denali NP
Place: Ruth Gorge, Denali National Park
State: AK
Country: USA
Fatalities: 2
Summary: 2 climbers caught and killed


Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)

Avalanche In Ruth Gorge Claims Two Lives

Two climbers were killed in an avalanche in Ruth Gorge on the afternoon of Saturday, May 29th. Canadian Andrew Herzenberg, 39, and Israeli Avner Magen, 42, both current residents of Toronto, Ontario, were descending a steep snow and ice gully wedged between Werewolf Tower and London Tower on the southeast side of the Gorge when the avalanche occurred. Another climbing party in the gorge witnessed the avalanche. Aware that a team had been climbing in the vicinity and had not returned to their camp, they skied closer to investigate and observed what appeared to be two climbers and gear in the avalanche debris. The witnessing party used a satellite phone to call National Park Service mountaineering rangers at 9 p.m. Saturday night. The Talkeetna-based NPS helicopter with two rangers on board flew to Ruth Gorge and picked up one of the witnesses, who directed them to the debris site. Shortly before 11 p.m., rangers confirmed that the two men had died in the fall. Due to the late hour, the helicopter and crew returned to Talkeetna. Both bodies were recovered on Sunday morning.

[Submitted by Maureen McLaughlin, Public Information Officer]