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Kiwi Mountain Woman Missing In Alaska Wilderness

Scoop News: Kiwi Mountaineer Karen McNeill Missing In Alaska Wilderness

A Canadian based New Zealand woman is missing on Alaska's Mt. Foraker. Canadian authorities have stated that Karen McNeill (37) of Canmore Alberta and her friend Sue Nott have been 'officially' missing on the mountain since Thursday June 1.

Karen McNeill (image sourced from Karen McNeill's website.)

Alaska park rangers have been searching for the pair who were believed to have attempted Mt. Foraker's 5220 metre summit. The mountain is located 19 kilometres southwest of Mt McKinley, the highest peak in north America.

Karen McNeill and Sue Nott began their climb of the Infinite Spur, as the route is known, on May 14 and were scheduled to return on May 28.

Fears for their safety grew after weather conditions on the mountain deteriorated. Five days of high winds and snow battered the region, and authorities reported avalanche activity on the mountain had been likely.

Canada's Canmore Leader newspaper reported: "When they did not show up, a search started for the missing women, but bad weather plagued the first three days of the search. However, the search did turn up some gear belonging to Nott.

"We had a really good day Monday, said Maureen McLachlin, a spokesperson with the U.S. National Park Service. The sky was clear so we were able to have an extensive search. Unfortunately we didn't find anything new.," the newspaper reported.

On Karen McNeill's website she writes: "I love adventure and being in the mountains. During my 16-year climbing career I have successfully blended these two passions into a lifestyle. I feel very fortunate that I have seen what I want in life and have had the ability to make this happen.

"I have been on thirteen expeditions to many not-so-frequented countries across the globe including: Alaska, Bolivia, Greenland, India, Nepal, Patagonia and Peru. Also in this category, I must include New Zealand where I was born and began climbing, and Canada where I currently live," Karen McNeill wrote.

Canada's CBC news reported that after three days of searching with high-altitude helicopters searchers have turned up "few traces of the missing women".

A yellow bag, a black fleece hat and pink nylon jacket that belonged to Nott has been found as well as a ripped backpack, radio and sleeping bag. The missing climbers have not been sighted.

Karen McNeill and her friend are considered to be highly experienced mountaineers. CBC reports: "McNeill has been on 13 climbing expeditions in the last 16 years to countries that include Bolivia, Greenland, India, Nepal, Patagonia and Peru."

Karen McNeill and Sue Nott set off for their climb in the wilderness on May 14 to attempt Alaska's most difficult climb, equipped with provisions for a 14-day trip.


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