Two experienced climbers died on McKinley after falling over 2,000 feet down the Messner Couloir. Dr. John Mislow, 39, of Newton, Mass., and Dr. Andrew Swanson, 36, of Minneapolis, were described as experienced climbers and frequent partners who tackled Denali once before in 2000.
The two were roped together, but both rescue rangers and other climbing teams who saw them fall weren't sure if they were ascending or descending along their planned route on the less-popular West Rib. Weather had been clear, and the two doctors were self-sufficient and experienced enough to have been given an award by the park service in 2000 for assisting other climbers that season.
The Park Service hopes to retrieve more information in hopes of understanding why the men fell, but as of now, the reasons remain a mystery.