The radio message came in at around 1:30 a.m. Monday, in the endless daylight of Denali in June: A Slovakian climber had fallen deep into a crevasse on the mountain’s West Buttress Route, into a coffin-like chute so narrow it was impossible for him to even turn his head.
Officials believe Takac, descending off the mountain, fell into the crevasse while unroped. Erickson arrived at the scene of the fall, close to a camp at 7,800 feet on the West Buttress Route, at 4 a.m. Monday. From the top, the crevasse looked like “a hole in the snow. Blank, flat snow. No slope,” Erickson said.
“At one point we had a small breakthrough where we could clear one of his arms. And at that point we clipped in his harness and we’re thinking, all right! This is after 10 hours. But we start pulling and realized it …