ALASKA: Single Slip

From Alaska, George W. Argus Jr. wrote on April 14 to his parents, who run a Brooklyn bakery: he was going to climb Mt. McKinley (20,269 ft.), North America's mightiest peak, soaring upward three miles from its base. Moreover, he was going to try the formidable South Buttress. "It's as safe as walking down the street in New York," he wrote.

Like at Coney Island. Cheerful George Argus, 25, went to work on the Alaskan Railroad during a summer vacation five years ago, liked it, and stayed to take his degree in geology at the University of Alaska. Drafted, he...

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