In separate incidents, 2 climbers fell to their deaths whilst climbing this weekend. 27-year-old Burak Akil was found dead on the east face of Teewinot Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, WY and 32-year-old male Seattle resident, Varun Sadavarte, fell several hundred feet while descending Mount Stuart, WA just before noon Sunday.
As reported by the Jackson Hole News & Guide, when Akil failed to report to work on Monday morning, rangers were notified that he had been climbing solo on Sunday. Two rangers confirmed his death at 11:45 am later that day. Although Akil was climbing alone, he was an experienced climber that was using all of the appropriate gear, including a helmet, ice axe, and crampons.
On Mount Stuart, WA a 911 cellular call to the Kittitas County dispatch center (KITTCOM) was received from the subject’s climbing partner at 11:47 am on Sunday reporting the fall. The incident location was determined to be on the southeast aspect of Mount Stuart just below the false summit – east of the true summit. The climbing partner informed search and rescue (SAR) coordinators that his friend had successfully summitted Mount Stuart earlier in the morning and descended to the false summit before noon. Just as they began to descend toward the Cascadian Couloir, the victim lost his footing and slid several hundred feet down a steep slope landing in rocks. Other climbers in the area eventually scrambled down to the area of the fallen climber advising he was unresponsive.
Park rangers encourage backcountry climbers and hikers to “Know Before You Go” and be well prepared for any backcountry excursion. It’s important to bring all of the appropriate equipment, and always let someone know your planned route and estimated return time.