Denali National Park Ranger Speaks Out About ‘Babysitting’ the ‘Entitled’ Climbers Who Need Rescued

by Jonathan Howard

We often get stories about hikers and others in national parks needing rescue. A Denali National Park ranger is speaking out about it. The ranger says that they are tired of people feeling “entitled” when it comes to emergency rescues. It was just June 11 when a climber had to be evacuated off of Denali. The outdoors can be dangerous. Not something you want to be involved in.

Alaska is home to the beautiful national park that is Denali. It’s a cold and tough climb up the tallest mountain in North America. At just under four and a half miles tall at the peak, Denali is a formidable climb for anyone. It’s one of those that are often on bucket lists.

“The problem is that people think they are entitled to rescue,” the ranger, Tucker Chenoweth said to New York Post. “But if you put yourself in a high altitude, arctic environment, that is your choice. You have to go into it with the attitude that you will do everything you can to help yourself.”

Wyatt Evenson, a Coordinator and Guide with American Alpine Institue also chimed in. “It is high-altitude babysitting.”

Some folks just feel like they can do everything. It’s no wonder that some people push their luck on trails and climbs that they are not prepared for. Ever since 1932, 123 death have been recorded on Denali. When you consider the fact that it is only accessible to climbers three months out of the year, it puts that number into context.

“The crevasses become like trap doors with 200-foot drops,” Chenoweth went on. “They become difficult to navigate safely.”

That June 11th climber had quite a journey on his fall and was lucky that they made it out alive. Not everyone is so lucky.

Denali National Park Incident Sheds Light on Dangers of Climbing

When that climber fell earlier this year, they were very lucky. Just half a mile away in Denali National Park, there were a group of rangers. Along with them was an Air National Guard Para-Rescuemean. Also known as a PJ, they are trained in resues that might be a little more intense.

After suffering a 1,000-foot fall, the climber emitted a distress signal. The rescue party was on the way.

“It took us 20 or so minutes,” Matt Steible, the PJ said. “He complained of neck pain and shortness of breath. Frostbite was developing on his hands and fingers. We placed him in a litter,” a type of stretcher. “And did an 800-foot descent with him. We slid the litter down the snow, which luckily, was nice and smooth.”

Luckily, this climber made it out. Already in this climbing season, there have been three deaths. It just goes to show how dangerous these falls can be. So, be careful out there Outsiders. When out on trails, hikes, climbs, or anything like that outdoors, safety is important.