The U.S. has seen an increase in National Parks visitors in recent years, as well as an outdoor climbing boom. At Denali National Park, that also means a surge in less experienced climbers: “more summit chasers, fewer wilderness seekers.” In this story for Insider, Kelsey Vlamis recounts the experience of four climbers attempting to summit North America’s tallest peak — and what really happened when one of them fell 1,000 feet.

But team dynamics is one of the biggest factors impacting safety and success on a Denali expedition. Strangers won’t know the skill level or risk tolerance of their teammates, or be able to spot when the other person is sick or exhausted.

Maynard and Wilson — who were meeting Lance for the first time — both said they wondered if Rawski was better off turning back, but decided it wasn’t their place to push it.

The average response time for a rescue helicopter can be several hours. But between the good luck of Rawski falling in full view of High Camp, the helicopter being close by, and the skilled maneuvering of the rescue team, this rescue happened with extraordinary speed — which is very likely why Rawski is alive to talk about it.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.