Woman Will Be Stranded for Days on Canada's Highest Peak

Rescue not expected until Friday
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2017 1:07 PM CDT
Updated May 4, 2017 1:03 AM CDT
Climber Will Be Stranded for Days on Canada's Highest Peak
The St. Elias mountain range, in which Mount Logan is located.   (Getty Images / mntnvision)

Natalia Martinez was nine days into her solo climb of Canada's highest peak when two earthquakes hit the area Monday morning—leading to avalanches and unstable terrain that have made it unsafe for her to move up or down. Martinez, an accomplished 37-year-old mountain climber from Argentina, is currently stuck at around 10,000 feet, about halfway up Yukon's Mount Logan, until rescuers can get to her via helicopter—which may not be until Friday, thanks to bad weather. "Things are not settled yet, and another aftershock is possible," Martinez's partner, who has been keeping in touch with her via satellite phone, tells the CBC. The Weather Network reported Tuesday that more than 100 aftershocks had hit the area in the wake of the 6.2- and 6.3-magnitude quakes, with some of the aftershocks hitting magnitudes as high as 5.7.

When the first quake hit early Monday morning, Martinez felt "like the mountain was falling apart," her partner says. "She felt that all the ground under her camp subsided and moved a lot, and of course she was very scared." Her tent was surrounded by serac falls, chunks of glacial ice that are often unstable, but she was able to retreat down the mountain to a more stable location, CTV News reports. "Hopefully everything that was loose came down already, but there could be other dangers that are kind of lurking there that are just on the edge of going," notes a rep from the tour outfitter that flew Martinez to the area. She's dealing with high winds, and on Monday night she had to leave the tent every few hours to dig out so that her camp wouldn't be buried by blowing snow, but her partner and another friend say she is well-equipped to handle the emergency. (A grandma and her cat survived five days stuck in the mountains.)

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