Solo Climber Found Dead After Fall From Highest Peak in North America

( – Rangers belonging to the Denali National Park and Preserve found the body of a mountain climber on Monday, May 20th. The climber is believed to have died sometime the week prior after attempting a solo climb of America’s tallest mountain peak. Denali, located in Alaska, is more than 20,000 feet high.

Authorities refused to publicly reveal the climber’s identity until their family was notified.

The climber had opted to keep in touch with family members throughout the attempt, but communications had ceased some days before the body was located. On Sunday, May 19th, a concerned family member contacted rangers to report the possibility that their relative was missing. Rangers based at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station began a search and were able to find the missing person’s tent situated at 16,200 feet. Rangers came into contact with a climbing team who described seeing the climber making their way from a 17,200-foot-high plateau to the 18,200-foot Denali pass on Wednesday prior.

The rangers were able to use satellite data from the climber’s InReach device to try to narrow down a possible location and saw that the location had remained unchanged at 17,000 feet since Thursday, indicating a fatal fall that day. As weather conditions improved slightly on Monday, rangers were able to find the missing climber’s body and make it secure but had to leave it in situ until the weather improved enough to ensure its safe retrieval from the Denali West Buttress route.

At least 14 people are known to have died since 1980 climbing the West Buttress route, which remains a popular route for climbers. About 350 people were estimated to be climbing the West Buttress route at the time of the climber’s death, according to the Denali National Park staff. This latest climbing death marks the second to take place this season in the Denali National Park. A woman from New York was killed in a fall in April and her climbing partner was badly hurt after they fell approximately 1000 feet while climbing Mount Johnson.

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