Climbers and friends gathered on Sunday, June 18, in the Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village to celebrate the life of 36-year-old climber Sue Nott, of Vail, Colorado, recently disappeared with partner Karen McNeill, 37, in the Alaska Range. McNeill’s memorial was held June 20 at the Canmore Senior Center, in Canmore, Alberta.
Nott and McNeill were highly accomplished alpinists who, on June 2, 2004, became the only all-female team to summit the Cassin Ridge of Denali (20,320 feet), a 9,000-foot direct line to summit, this amid weather conditions that kept other climbers pinned in camp. The world climbing community has been humbled by the loss of the two women, who went missing on the Infinite Spur (5.9 M5 AI4) of Alaska’s Mount Foraker. The climbers left basecamp on May 12 and were last seen on May 14 en route to the peak’s south summit. They had brought food for two weeks and were expected back within that time frame.
On June 1 the National Park Service launched an air search for the missing pair. Nott’s backpack was found 500 feet right of the base of the route, along with her sleeping bag, the team’s radio, and a jacket. Clear tracks were also observed as high as 16,400 feet, but not on the summit plateau. Rescue efforts ended on June 11 due to precarious weather conditions.
We here at Climbing extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of these exceptional women. Please see Issue 251 for more.