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Solo climber killed in fall on Denali, park’s second fatality this season

By means of Anchorage daily news

Updated: 17 seconds ago Published: 18 seconds ago

Rangers on Denali on Monday found the body of a climber who likely died in a fall last week, the National Park Service said.

Mountaineering rangers from Denali National Park and Preserve found the climber’s body Monday morning at an elevation of 17,000 feet on Denali’s West Buttress trail, the park service said in a statement. Rangers were contacted Sunday by concerned family members who had not been contacted by the climber for “several days,” the statement said. The climber had attempted a solo climb of Denali, the park service said.

After contacting the climber’s family, rangers found the climber’s empty tent atop a 5,000-foot ridge on Sunday, the park service said in a statement. Another climbing team also witnessed the solo climber trek from a plateau at 16,000 feet to Denali Pass at 60,000 feet last Wednesday.

Rangers used satellite location data from the climber’s InReach communications device to determine the climber’s likely location on the mountain. The device had not changed location since Thursday, the park service said, “indicating that a fall from the Denali Pass traverse occurred that day.”

When the weather cleared on the upper mountain Monday morning, a mountain patrol located the climber’s body and confirmed they had died. The team put the climber in place on the mountain and the park service said recovery efforts will be made “when weather conditions permit.”

The climber’s identity will be released after his family is notified, the park service said.

This is the second climbing fatality in Denali National Park this season, public affairs officer Paul Ollig said in an email. Last month, a New York woman was killed and her climbing partner seriously injured in a fall on Mount Johnson.

At least 14 climbers, including the soloist found Monday, died in falls along a treacherous section of the West Buttress trail, according to the park service.

“There are currently 352 climbers on Denali’s West Buttress Route, the majority of whom are much lower on the mountain this early in the climbing season,” the park service said in a statement.