Chief Master Sgt. Paul Barendregt climbs up the prow of the West Buttress on Mount McKinley on May 9 to conduct winter rescue and glacier training in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Barendregt and four other Alaska Air National Guardsmen with the 212th Rescue Squadron became the first group to reach the 20,320-foot peak of Mount McKinley this year after summiting North America's tallest mountain. (Alaska Air National Guard/AP)
DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, ALASKA — The first group to summit Mount McKinley this year included five members of the Alaska Air National Guard.
The Guard says in a release the five reached the peak of the 20,320-foot mountain on May 9.
The five members of the 212th Rescue Squadron conducted the climb of the tallest mountain in North America to enhance their winter survival skills.
The men began the climb on April 26th, going up about 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet a day.
The group included Maj. Matt Komatsu, Chief Master Sgt. Paul Barendregt, Tech. Sgt. Kyle Minshew, Staff Sgt. William “Bill” Cenna and Staff Sgt. Brett Wilson.
This is the 100th anniversary of the first successful summit of Mount McKinley, known locally by its Athabascan name, Denali.