California woman survives 1,000-foot fall at Alaska’s Denali National Park that kills her friend

This handout photo shows the “Escalator” route on Mt. Johnson, Denali National Park and Preserve. The X indicates the approximate location of the rescue of the surviving climbing.(J. Kayes/National Park Service via CNN Newsource)

A 52-year-old woman is dead and another was seriously injured after the two-person team fell 1,000 feet while ascending a mountain in Alaska’s Denali National Park on Thursday.

Robbi Mecus, of Keene Valley, New York, died of injuries sustained in the fall, according to park officials. Her climbing partner, a 30-year-old woman from California, was rescued by National Park Service mountaineering rangers on Friday morning and air lifted to an Anchorage hospital with serious injuries, the park said in a news release.

The two roped climbers were climbing the “the Escalator” route on Mt. Johnson, which is a “steep and technical alpine climb on the peak’s southeast face” involving a “mix of steep rock, ice, and snow,” according to a release from the park.

Another climbing party on the same route saw the fall and alerted the Alaska Regional Communication Center around 10:45 p.m., the park said. They then climbed down to the victims and confirmed one of the climbers had died in the fall.

“The responders dug a snow cave and attended to the surviving climber’s injuries throughout the night,” the release said.

The following morning, Denali’s high-altitude rescue helicopter pilot and two mountaineering rangers responded to the incident. One ranger was lowered to the group of climbers and the injured patient was then short-hauled out to a flat glacier and loaded into the helicopter.

They were flown to Talkeetna, Alaska, where the surviving climber was then transferred to a LifeMed air ambulance at the Talkeetna State Airport for treatment, according to the park.

Officials recovered Mecus’ body on Saturday morning, according to the park.

“We are grateful for the rescue efforts of Denali mountaineering rangers and the two good Samaritans on Mt. Johnson who helped save a fellow climber’s life,” Denali National Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell said. “We extend our thoughts and condolences to the friends and family of Robbi Mecus.”

CNN’s Paradise Afshar and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.

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