Doctor on Denali Mountain ‘simulated hypothermia for helicopter to avoid going down’.
A doctor faces three criminal charges after he allegedly climbed part of the 20,310-foot Denali Mountain and feigned hypothermia to try to get a helicopter to shoot him down.
Dr. Jason Lance, 47, allegedly called the helicopter after giving up on reaching the top in Alaska and while coming down. The Ogden, Utah-based radiologist apparently called for help in May more than 17,000 feet above Denali, which is the highest mountain in North America.
Rangers told Lance that a helicopter “cannot descend safely.” But Lance replied, ‘I can’t descend [sic] No danger. Patients in shock. Early hypothermia … can’t you land east of the pass? according to the complaint obtained by the Daily beast.
When Lance and two friends accompanying him managed to descend to a safe altitude, the rangers found them.
Lance’s two friends said that “neither of them had suffered any form of medical shock or hypothermia at any time during their ascent or descent, contrary to Dr. Lance’s claims about Denali NPS (National Park),” the complaint states.
Both (climbers) reported that they spent hours trying to convince Dr. Lance to climb up and down with them from the 18,200 foot to 17,200-foot high camp after the trio saw AR (climber) fall. (The climbers) reported that Dr. Lance insisted that the three stays put, told them (the climbers) that the NPS was going to rescue them and that the NPS was obligated to do so because “we have paid our fee.”
Lance reportedly hid in a tent and ignored rangers’ orders not to erase messages from a Garmin satellite phone.
A subpoena for the device later showed that Lance said the real reason he ordered the helicopter was that he did not have the necessary equipment to descend the mountain.
Lance and his two friends began their attempt to reach the summit from Denali Camp 3, which is 14,200 feet high.
That day, the American Alpine Institute issued a warning stating that their next stop, Camp 4, was “a very windy and inhospitable place.”
Lance is charged with violating the legal order of a government employee authorized to maintain order and control public access during rescue operations.
He is also charged with giving a false report for the purpose of misleading a government employee and making a false report that caused the United States to respond to a fictitious event.
He is scheduled to appear for a virtual hearing on November 29.