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Climber presumed dead after falling into crevasse in Alaska's Denali National Park

By Ashley Williams
Climber presumed dead after falling into crevasse in Alaska's Denali National Park
Authorities said that the climber was at about 8,000 feet on Tuesday when he became separated from his climbing team and fell into a crevasse. File Photo by Chris Larsen/NASA/UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- A 43-year-old climber from Japan is presumed dead after he fell into a crevasse in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, officials said.

The National Park Service said that the climber became detached from his climbing team and fell into the crevasse on the Kahiltna Glacier near the base of Mount Hunter.

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The climber, from Kanagawa, Japan, was apparently unroped from his fellow climbers when he fell through a weak ice bridge near their camp. The fall occurred at an elevation of about 8,000 feet.

NPS mountaineers responded to an emergency call to search for the climber, but found no trace. One of the mountaineers rappelled into the crevasse as far as safely possible and found nothing but caved-in snow and ice.

"The climber is presumed dead based on the volume of ice, the distance of the fall, and the duration of the burial," the NPS said in a statement. "The feasibility of a body recovery will be investigated in the days ahead."

The Japanese climber was not identified.

The NPS also announced that the body of an Austrian solo climber who died on Denali this month has been recovered. The climber, Matthias Rimml, died a few weeks ago after an accident at 17,000 feet, the agency said. Denali is the tallest peak in North America.

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