HIGH-ALTITUDE HELP. Masatoshi Kuriaki describes, at a friendís home
in Peters Creek, Alaska, in this April 3, 2007 file photo, how he looked
at the clouds over the summit of Mount Foraker to determine if the
weather conditions were good for his final climb. Kuriaki, who became
the first solo winter climber to conquer the 17,400-foot mountain, was
rescued by helicopter this month at the 8,600-foot level of 14,573-foot
Mount Hunter in Alaska. Kuriaki was uninjured, but transmitted a signal
for emergency help, according to a news release from Denali National
Park. He still had two days of food and three to four days of water left
with him. (AP Photo/Michale Dinneen, File)
From The Asian Reporter, V26, #8 (April 18, 2016), page 9.
Japanese climber rescued from Alaska peak amid
TALKEETNA, Alaska (AP) ó A helicopter recently rescued an experienced
Japanese climber from an Alaska mountain where spring storms had created
significant avalanche risks.
Masatoshi Kuriaki, a 42-year-old climber from Fukuoka, Japan, was
rescued at the 8,600-foot level of 14,573-foot Mount Hunter, Denali
National Park said in a news release.
Kuriaki was uninjured, but transmitted a signal for emergency help,
the park said. He had two days of food and three to four days of water
An Alaska Air National Guard helicopter was initially unable to
approach Mount Hunter because of bad weather, and storms prevented
further attempts until two days later, the news release said.
As skies cleared, a high-altitude helicopter with two Denali
mountaineering rangers reached Kahiltna Glacier at noon. They picked up
Kuriaki from his camp on the mountainís West Ridge climbing route and
transported him in an external rescue basket to the glacier. From there,
they flew back to Talkeetna.
Kuriaki was on day 75 of a solo expedition that had been planned for
65 days, according to the release.
Hideki Watanabe, director of a branch of the Japanese Alpine Club in
Fukuoka who knows Kuriaki, said he was relieved the climber was safe,
adding that he is not surprised that Kuriaki ditched his attempt and he
must have had a reason, like weather or avalanche danger, to make that
"Mr. Kuriaki has his own theory about mountaineering and safety, and
he is extremely careful," Watanabe told The Associated Press in a
telephone interview. "He never pushes himself when he is not fully
Avalanche danger was high to extreme after a storm cycle brought
unusually warm and wet weather conditions, Denali Park said.
The park described Kuriaki as very experienced in solo winter
expeditions in Denali Park. It said this was his 19th expedition in the
Alaska Range, 17 of which were solo winter climbs. He has attempted
20,310-foot Denali four times in winter, including a successful solo
ascent in 1998.
Kuriaki also made the first solo winter ascent of 17,400-foot Mount
Foraker in 2007.
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