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Mount St.Elias

THE TRAGEDY



12th April - Climbers missing on Mount St. Elias presumed dead
By DAN JOLING, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska. Two climbers were missing and presumed dead after they tried to descend America's second tallest peak on skis, the National Park Service said. Aaron Martin of Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Reed Sanders of West Yellowstone, Mont., disappeared Tuesday on Mount St. Elias, which rises 18,008 feet in southeastern Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Search crews were hampered by snow that made flying impossible, park spokeswoman Jane Tranel said Thursday. The two men were among four climbers dropped off on April 4 at about 10,000 feet by Paul Claus, owner of Ultima Thule Outfitters. Greg Von Doersten of Jackson, Wyo., stayed at 14,500 feet after suffering frostbite. The other three, including John Griber of Jackson, reached the summit Tuesday. Their plan was to ski or snowboard to sea level, said Hunter Sharp, the park's deputy superintendent. Griber changed his mind and decided to walk.
He later saw Martin slide about 4,000 feet, out of control, before going out of sight. Claus, the outfitter, flew back to the area Wednesday morning to check on the climbers' progress. As he flew over Griber and Von Doersten, he spotted a message stamped in the snow that said, "two dead, two need rescue." The two were rescued by helicopter on Wednesday.


No one knows what actually happened on Mount St. Elias in Alaska in April 2002 other than the two survivors (if even they know). The enactments in this film are not portrayals of actual events. We created the enactments to help us speculate about what might have happened in Alaska in April 2002.
The truth behind the tragedy remains a mystery. The only two eyewitnesses survived and moved on with their lives, told their story once to Alaska Ski Press and then they further on kept silent and did not want to share their story with us. That´s why we may never know what really happened.