ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Searchers have found the bodies of two Japanese climbers a year after they disappeared on Alaska’s Mount McKinley, thanks to high-resolution images captured during a recent search for another missing climber, park officials said Friday.

The frozen bodies of 27-year-old Tatsuro Yamada of Saitama-Ken, Japan, and 24-year-old Yuto Inoue of Tokyo were found on May 25. They were connected by a rope at the 19,800-foot level of the 20,320-foot mountain, which is North America’s tallest peak. National Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said the bodies will not be recovered because of the risk involved in the extremely steep and rocky location.

The men vanished May 22, 2008, during an attempt to climb to the summit by way of the Cassin Ridge of the mountain, which is located in Denali National Park and Preserve.

National Park officials said the photographs were taken during the search last month for 41-year-old Gerald Myers, a chiropractor from Centennial, Colo. Myers was last seen May 19 after he left his climbing partners at 14,200 feet to make a solo attempt to summit the mountain. His body has not been found.

In last year’s search for the Japanese men, crews took more than 3,000 photos, which helped find tracks and other markings, but not the climbers.

In the search for Myers, a more advanced camera with a higher powered lens was used. Photographs analyzed May 24 showed what appeared to be two partially buried figures.

Searchers the next day hovered near the area by helicopter. Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said the bodies were identified by the clothing, equipment and area.

“There have been no other missing climbers in that part of the terrain,” she said.

She said park officials waited for the men’s families to arrive this week before announcing the discovery.


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