Mountaineer found dead after falling from North America’s highest peak

Since 1980, at least 14 climbers have died in falls on the West Buttress route.

A climber died in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska after park rangers found a body at an elevation of more than three miles, authorities said.

The incident began to unfold Monday when rangers were contacted by a concerned family member who had not heard from a climber for several days, according to a National Park Service news release.

“The climber had been communicating regularly with his family via an InReach communication device during his attempt to solo climb Denali,” authorities said.

Park officials were immediately dispatched to the upper ridge on West Buttress Route due to the family member’s concerns and rangers were able to quickly locate the climber’s empty tent atop the 16,200-foot ridge, park officials said. .

“Through interviews, rangers also determined the last known sighting of the climber. Another climbing team had seen them traverse from the 17,200-foot plateau to Denali Pass at 18,200 feet on Wednesday, May 15,” according to the National Park Service. “Rangers at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station were able to collect satellite location data from the climber’s InReach account and identified his likely location at 17,000 feet on Denali. InReach data indicated that the device had not changed location since Thursday, May 16, suggesting that a fall from the Denali Pass crossing occurred that day.”

A National Park Service mountaineering patrol at the 17,200-foot-high camp was later able to locate the likely location of the climber’s fall using a telescope Monday morning once the weather began to clear on the upper mountain, they said. The authorities.

“The team went to the scene and confirmed that the climber had died. “The ranger patrol then secured the climber at his location and returned to high camp,” according to authorities. “Recovery efforts will be attempted when weather conditions permit. “The identity of the fallen climber will be released once the family has been notified.”

Since 1980, at least fourteen climbers have died in falls along the treacherous section of the West Buttress route, including this latest death.

“There are currently 352 climbers on Denali’s West Buttress route, most of whom are much further down the mountain at this time of climbing season,” according to park officials, who said climbing season generally It starts at the beginning of May and ends at the beginning of July. .