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Saturday, May 27, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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3 Washington Climbers Die On Mount Mckinley

AP

ANCHORAGE - The bodies of three Washington state climbers were recovered yesterday from a crevasse about 13,300 feet up Mount McKinley, the National Park Service said.

The men were ascending the popular West Buttress route and apparently were ferrying supplies to a higher camp when the accident occurred, the service said.

Killed were Scott Hall, 34, of Arlington; Thomas Downey, 52, of Ephrata; and Jimmy Hinkhouse, 52 of Bellevue, the Park Service said late yesterday.

The accident brings to four the number of climbing deaths this year on the 20,300-foot mountain, the continent's tallest peak about 150 miles northwest of Anchorage.

John Quinley, a Park Service spokesman, said it appeared the three climbers were crossing a crevasse when a snow or ice bridge gave way.

The bodies were found yesterday under large blocks of snow and ice by other climbers heading down the mountain. The accident was reported to rangers camped at 14,000 feet.

Quinley said the accident could have happened Wednesday or Thursday, based on the condition of the bodies and snowfall in the area. Authorities said they would wait for improved weather before trying to move the bodies off McKinley.

Severe weather over the past four days has kicked up winds to 60 mph at 14,000 feet and eight feet of snow fell at a base camp located at 7,200 feet at Kahiltna Glacier.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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