Ski Mountaineer Pavel Michut Died From Injuries Suffered After A 1500′ Fall In Denali’s Messner Couloir In Alaska
Denali, Alaska – At approximately 18:15 on Saturday, May 28, 2016 ski mountaineer Pavel Michut, 45, was skiing at 17,000′ in the Messner Couloir on Denali when he fell 1,500′ and suffered deadly traumatic injuries.
The fall was witnessed by multiple parties at the 14,200′ camp of the West Buttress Route. A climbing team was on scene within ten minutes. Michut suffered multiple traumatic injuries. Mountain rangers brought the body back to camp on a sled. His body will be recovered by helicopter when conditions allow.
Michut was skiing with one other ski mountaineer at the time of the fall. That skier made it to camp uninjured. A third member of their party stayed in camp that day. It is unclear if the ski mountainers had made the summit.
The Messner Couloir is a steep couloir that runs from 19,000 to 14,000 feet. The conditions during the ski descent were “wind scoured and hard packed” after days of extreme winds according to ADN.com and the National Park Service.
This is the first fatality on Denali this year. Only 19% of parties attempting to climb the mountain this season have reached the summit.
The Messner Couloir as first skied in 1972. It is listed as one of the 50 Classic Ski Descents Of North America.