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Photo: Icefield Discovery

The Inertia

This is what you call guts. Argentine climber Natalia Martinez is stuck halfway up Canada’s highest peak, deep within the Yukon Territory. According to CBC News, Martinez was part-way through a traverse of Mount Logan with a peak elevation at just under 20,000 feet, when a pair of earthquakes hit setting off several avalanches. She was able to avoid the slides but has subsequently been left stranded in extremely dangerous terrain.

“Right now, she’s doing her best to stay safe, keep the camp safe, to keep the tent sound,” her partner Camilo Rada told the outlet. Rada, who’s been providing support, was notified of Martinez’s situation via satellite phone. “Things are not settled yet, and another aftershock is possible. So it’s dangerous for her to move, basically, whether up or down, so the plan is to get her a rescue by helicopter.”

Graphic from Fresh Alpine Line

Martinez is apparently stranded mid-mountain at around 3,000 meters or 9,800 feet.

The weather is acting against the 37-year old as it’s not expected to clear until Friday, the first point authorities will be able to send a helicopter in after her. Martinez is a ski instructor and mountain guide in Argentina and is exceptionally well prepared. According to sources close to the story, she chose her camp well but the St. Elias Mountain Range, where she’s stranded is an extremely wild place. She apparently was in her tent when the first earthquake hit and didn’t know what was happening, emerging from her shelter to see giant glacial seracs and evidence of avalanche around her sheltered camp.


Sian Williams of Icefield Discovery Tours, the outfitter that flew Martinez to her initial base camp, says Martinez is now in a “relatively safe location,” but still surrounded by danger.

“The St. Elias [Range] is a very wild part of the world,” says Williams. “We’re expecting storms with high winds over the next couple of days, and she is still up on the ridge.”

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