Climbers recount a journey to North America's tallest peak
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He looked bizarre, totally out of place, this Pakistani climber in ragged, old mountaineering clothes, alone, shaking our tent while we tried to sleep, asking frantically for a satellite phone,” says University of Colorado alum and Denver-based mountaineer Alex Harz, recounting a night high on a flank of North America’s tallest peak, Denali. “He was hard to understand, but that was the first we learned of the Japanese climbers' deaths ... three, four, five guys got caught in an avalanche and were pulled down a crevasse that they’ll never come out of.”
It would be a startling way to wake up; the encounter took place late at night after an exhausting climb, when the 24-hour sun had dipped just below the horizon, leaving a glow along the horizon and the mountain in deep cold.
“That was when it really hit me,” says Ben Sorenson, the other member of the two-man team, “We’re in a place where we could easily be killed. That could have been us down that hole.”
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