June 16, 2012 2:12 p.m.
Four members of a Japanese climbing team were presumed dead after being swept off a hill in an avalanche two days ago on Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America, the U.S. National Park Service said on Saturday.
Five people were climbing the Alaska mountain around 2 a.m. Thursday when a wave of snow crashed over them, snapping the rope that tethered them together, according to a park service news release.
The fifth climber, Hitoshi Ogi, 69, was swept into a crevasse and survived with minor injuries. When he climbed out, Hitoshi could not find his fellow climbers in the debris. His solo descent to the base camp took 14 hours, officials said.
More than two days later, rangers and volunteers still searching did not expect to find the other climbers alive. All four were presumed dead from snow burial or injuries.
The missing are Yoshiaki Kato, 64; Masako Suda, 50; Michiko Suzuki, 56; and Tamao Suzuki, 63. They were members of the Myagi Workers Alpine Federation in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture.
The team had made the climb during the height of mountaineering season, on Mt. McKinley’s most popular route. There are currently 395 people attempting the climb, officials said.
Heavy snowfall and strong winds have made climbing Mt. McKinley particularly difficult this year. About 37% of the climbers have reached its 20,320-foot summit.
The mountain is named after President William McKinley. Its alternate name, Denali, means “the high one” in an Alaska native language.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
4938926 138329 67
Michiko’s path of destiny = 67 = A regular person.
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