US & Canada

Argentine climber stranded on Canada's highest peak

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

An Argentine climber stranded on Canada's highest peak will have to wait another day for a helicopter rescue due to bad weather, her partner says.

Natalia Martínez has been at a camp on Mount Logan since Monday, unable to move after strong earthquakes triggered large avalanches, according to reports.

She is said to be healthy and uninjured. Her campsite is safe but the surrounding terrain is unstable.

Storms and high winds have made a helicopter rescue impossible.

"There should be a good weather window happening by Friday, hopefully, if the forecasts are correct," her partner, Camilo Rada, was quoted by CBC as saying.

Rada has been in contact with the 37-year-old climber by phone and text.

In a blog post, he said she had plenty of food and supplies.

She was tired, he added, as she had to leave her tent every few hours to shovel snow piled around her camp. The temperatures in the area have reached -20C.

But in her latest message, the climber said the wind had eased and that she was preparing a "hot meal".

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

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

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

Martínez was woken up by a "tremendous roar" and saw that blocs of glacial ice surrounded her tent. She then moved her camp to a safer area, he said.

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

She was prepared for severe weather and other challenges, Rada added, but did not expect the earthquakes.

"These have been very difficult days for her, first by finding her route devastated by an earthquake, forcing her to abandon the dream of the summit, then due to a forced wait in the middle of a serious storm," he said.

"However, she is doing extraordinarily well, keeping herself safe even under all this [sic] circumstances."

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

Another group was on the mountain but no details have been given, according to CBC.

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