Mountain climber falls 1,100 feet, dies

May 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM
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DENALI, Alaska, May 20 (UPI) -- A mountain climber died after falling fell 1,100 feet from high on Mount McKinley while trying to retrieve a backpack, the National Park Service said.

The climber, part of a three-member team, fell Friday afternoon. Rangers were notified around 4:30 p.m. a member of the team had fallen from the 16,200-foot level on the West Buttress route, where climbers often stopped to rest.

The Anchorage Daily News reported the Park Service has not released the climber's identity, nationality or gender, only saying the climbing team was not from the United States.

Denali National Park deployed a helicopter with two ranger-paramedics onboard around 5:15 p.m. Friday. When rangers reached the fall site, they determined the climber had died of their injuries.

Rangers said the climber was not roped to teammates, nor anchored to a picket struck to the mountainside, as most climbers and rangers are.

There are currently 336 climbers attempting to master routes on McKinley, the tallest peak in North America at 20,320 feet. Four climbers have reached the summit this season.

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