Memorial set for missing climber |

Memorial set for missing climber

J.K. Perry
AP Photo/McNeil family via The Rocky Mountain NewsA memorial will be held Sunday for Vail's Sue Nott, right, who disappeared with climbing Sue McNeill on Alaska's Mount Foraker. Crews ened their search of the 17,400-foot mountain over the weekend.

VAIL ” The family of lost climber and Vail resident Sue Nott plan to celebrate her life on Sunday. The day will mark a week since a search on Alaska’s Mount Foraker for her and climbing partner Karen McNeill ended unsuccessfully.

“The family of Sue H. Nott would like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the kind and supportive friends ” both locally and throughout the world ” who have conveyed their concern, love and admiration for Sue and her climbing partner, Karen McNeill, throughout this most difficult of times,” said a statement the Nott family released Monday.

The public is invited to attend the celebration on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. There will be a reception afterwards in the adjacent Vilar Pavilion.

Nott, 36, and McNeill, 37, who lived in Alberta, Canada, left base camp May 12 and two days later began climbing the Infinite Spur route to the south summit of Alaska’s 17,400-foot Mount Foraker.

The two experienced climbers said they would return to base camp within 10 to 14 days. The search began June 1.

Rescuers scaled down their effort Sunday, shifting from a rescue to body recovery after determining Nott and McNeill likely ran out of the fuel they needed to melt snow into water, said Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for the Denali National Park and Preserve.

Without water, climbers rapidly dehydrate, which increases the probability of frostbite, hypothermia and weakness, Fister said. Eating snow provides some relief, but generally hastens hypothermia and depletes calories needed for warmth, she said.

From June 1 to Sunday, the National Park Service conducted 27 hours of low-level aerial searching within five miles of Mount Foraker, Fister said. The climbers were never seen on the Infinite Spur route nor was any activity detected near the summit or on any of the routes leading off the mountain, Fister said.

The family had nothing but praise for the search crews.

“Their professionalism, thoroughness and compassion have been exemplary and the family is very grateful for all of their efforts on Sue and Karen’s behalf,” the Nott family statement said.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or

Vail, Colorado

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