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Clouds preventing search for climbers

The Associated Press
AP Photo/McNeil family via The Rocky Mountain NewsBad weather again barred searchers in Alaska from looking for Karen McNeill, left, and Sue Nott.
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska ” Clouds around 17,400-foot Mount Foraker made it unlikely that an aerial search could resume Friday for two missing climbers.

Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for Denali National Park and Preserve, said the cloud ceiling was at 9,500 to 10,000.

“It’s not looking real favorable today,” she said.

The National Park Service began searching June 1 for Sue Nott, 36, of Vail and Karen McNeill, 37, of Canmore, Alberta. Nott and McNeill began their climb of the ascent route, the Infinite Spur, on May 14. The climbers had told people at base camp that they expected to complete the route in 10 to 14 days.

Searchers hope the woman are holed up in a crevasse or other sheltered spot but acknowledge their chances of survival diminish as more days pass.

Temperatures likely are dropping below zero at night on the mountain’s higher elevations, Fister said.

An air taxi operator and others familiar with the women’s plans flew the climbing route early last week, and when they did not see signs of the climbers, alerted the park officials.

Aerial searches spotted a radio, a sleeping bag and a ripped backpack believed to be Nott’s in an avalanche debris field.

Mount Foraker is 12 miles southwest of Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.

Vail, Colorado


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