Stranded climber rescued after four days on Canada’s highest mountain

Natalia Martínez was trapped by heavy snow on Mount Logan after earthquakes triggered avalanches

An Argentinian climber stranded for four days on Canada’s highest mountain has been rescued.

Natalia Martínez, who began a solo traverse of 5,959-metre Mount Logan in the Yukon late last month, was at an elevation of about 3,900 metres when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Yukon and Alaska on Monday, sending snow and glacial ice crashing down around her camp. A few hours later, the mountain was rattled by a second earthquake of magnitude 6.3 along with several aftershocks.

Martínez – ensconced in her tent about 135 miles from the earthquakes’ epicentre – was unscathed by the avalanches triggered by the quakes, but left stranded.

A message posted on the ExpeNews website popular with climbers said Martínez was rescued on Thursday night.

ExpeNews said a pilot with the charter service Icefield Discovery had noticed an improvement in weather conditions and alerted a rescue team. The website said Martínez was taken to the Icefield Discovery base in Kluane Lake.

Martínez on the summit of Mount Malaspina on the Saint Elias Mountains of Yukon.
Martínez on the summit of Mount Malaspina on the Saint Elias Mountains of Yukon. Photograph: Courtesy of Camilo A Rada Giacaman

Camilo Rada, Martínez’s climbing partner of 10 years, said this week that Martínez had been working hard to keep her camp safe and to stay safe.

He described Martínez as a highly accomplished climber whose experiences in Patagonia had readied her for heavy winds and extreme cold. “She’s used to really serious weather in Patagonia, she had been through a number of storms and she knows what to do. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy – it’s very tiring, especially if you have to do it alone,” he said.

Rada, who was in regular contact with Martínez via satellite phone from his home in British Columbia, said the 37-year-old was in her tent on Monday morning when she heard what she described as a tremendous roar. “She didn’t know it was an earthquake. She thought the glacier she was on was collapsing,” said Rada. “The whole ground around her was shaking and moved a lot. She was pretty scared.”

Associated Press contributed to this report


Ashifa Kassam in Toronto

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