Alaska soldiers reach summit of Mount McKinley
One team made the top; the other was repelled by the merciless conditions faced by all mountaineers.
The second of two groups of soldiers attempting to climb Mount McKinley in Alaska has returned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson after successfully scaling the tallest peak in North America.
The group of eight, which included paratroops from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, had spent weeks acclimating to the thin air and harsh conditions on the way to top of the 20,320-foot mountain. They reached the summit at 6 p.m. Monday.
An earlier team from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, reached 14,000 feet earlier this month, but they had to turn back because of weather and medical problems, according to news release from U.S. Army Alaska.
U.S. Army Alaska teams have made more than 16 climbing expeditions on the highly popular West Buttress Route to the summit since 1980, the news release said.
The groups were testing their Arctic training and cold-weather equipment. USARAK soldiers are the premiere force for cold-weather and mountainous missions, which often include search and rescue and disaster response.