Adventure: Mountaineering: No Room at the Top

Crowding and accidents increase as Americans flock to mountaineering

For mountain climbers the news over Memorial Day weekend was grim but not really surprising. At Yosemite Valley in California, the body of Derek Hersey, a renowned Alpinist whose unforgiving specialty was rock-wall climbing done solo and without the protection of belays, was found below Sentinel Peak. And on Alaska's Denali (Mount McKinley), descending unroped in darkness down an icy chute called Orient Express, Charles Cearley, 40, a mountaineer from Seattle, fell 3,000 ft. and died.

The one-paragraph stories that appeared in most of the nation's press didn't tell much. As usual, Hersey, 36, an Englishman who lived in Boulder, Colorado,...

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