Avalanche on Alaska mountain kills 2 climbers

May 25, 2011 - 5:00 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers at Denali National Park say an avalanche on Mount Frances has killed a climber from Canada and another from Japan.

Park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin says Wednesday that 33-year-old Jiro Kurihara of Canmore, Alberta, and 28-year-old Junya Shiraishi of Sapporo, Japan, died while attempting a new route on the west face of the 10,450-foot mountain near Mount McKinley.

A search was launched when they did not return to base camp on Monday.

Rangers aboard a helicopter spotted a body lying in avalanche debris at the base of the mountain. Both bodies were recovered Wednesday.

Park officials say records indicate the two men are the first two fatalities on Mount Frances. Earlier this month, two climbers died in separate incidents on neighboring Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak.