US & Canada

Argentine climber rescued off Mt Logan after quake and avalanche

Natalia Martínez smiles to camera Image copyright Arran Whiteford
Image caption Martínez was described as an experienced climber

A lone Argentine mountaineer has been rescued, four days after she was trapped on Canada's highest peak after avalanches triggered by an earthquake.

Natalia Martínez, 37, had faced -20C (-4F) temperatures and winds of up to 140km/h (85mph) on Mt Logan. The rescue operation lasted three hours.

"Natalia is back with us safe and sound," the expedition website said.

Martínez had been in touch with her partner Camilo Rada, describing "crazy" intense winds and heavy snow.

Mountain pilot Tom Bradley, who dropped her off last month to begin the ascent, had earlier told the BBC the ordeal had been "a real rollercoaster for her".

Image copyright Lance Goodwin, Icefield Discovery Tours
Image caption Picture posted on 27 April shows Martínez on the eastern ridge of Mount Logan

The strong winds had made it impossible for her to light her stove to cook food or melt snow to drink, said Mr Bradley, Chief Pilot at Icefield Discovery Tours.

"She was getting pretty weak over the last couple of days," he said.

She had been "feeling a little down on it" on Thursday morning, but had been able to make a hot meal later in the day, which had helped her recover some strength and boosted her spirits, he said.

Mr Rada, also an experienced mountaineer, had been in contact by satellite phone and text. According to earlier reports from her team, she had become increasingly tired, after having to leave her tent every few hours to shovel snow piled around her camp.

"The rescue team (sic) was launched around 7:30pm local time, heading for a successful operation that ended at 22:30 pm, with Natalia showing again her beautiful smile at the Icefield Discovery base in Kluane Lake!!! Well done Nati!!!! YOU MADE IT!!!!," the update on the expedition website said.

Ms Martínez started a solo ascent of the 5,959m (19,551 ft) peak last month.

The magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck the western Yukon territory early on Monday. A few hours later, another tremor, of magnitude 6.3, hit.

For Ms Martinez, it felt as if "the mountain was falling apart," Mr Rada was quoted by CBC News as saying.

"She felt that all the ground under her camp subsided and moved a lot, and of course she was very scared," he said.

She then moved her camp to a safer area, Mr Rada said.

The Argentine was described as an experienced climber, who had been on Mt Logan before and faced extreme conditions in Patagonia.

An average of 25 climbers try to reach the summit of Mt Logan every year.

More on this story