ALASKA: Men Against the Mountain

In the mute, snow-shouldered peaks of Mount McKinley, the continent's highest mountain, four climbers pecked perilously downward from the 20,320-ft. summit in the white cold of an Alaskan night. Bound to one another by lengths of rope and sinews of courage, they edged along toward the 18,200-ft. level on the sharp west buttress—and then one slipped. As the first fell, and then the second, the third and the fourth, one of them swung his ax into the stubborn ice, but it did not hold. The four fell about 400 ft. and then rolled...

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