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Two Climbers Died Climbing in Alaska in May

One climber on Denali and one climber at the base of Mount Hunter died while moving un-roped

Alaska has been a busy this spring with big new routes being established and old classics being repeated. Tragically, two climbers have died this month. The year’s first registered climber on Denali, North America’s tallest peak, died while soloing the West Buttress at the start of May.

Matthias Rimml, a 35-year-old mountain guide from Tirol, Austria, planned to summit in five days and carried enough fuel and food for 10 days. Parks said that Rimml likely fell on the steep traverse between Denali Pass at 5,547 meters and the plateau, a dangerous stretch of the West Buttress. At least 13 climbers, including Rimml, have died in falls along that traverse.

And last week, a 43-year-old climber from Kanagawa, Japan, was un-roped from his teammates when he fell through a weak ice bridge near their camp at on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.

The search and rescue team said, “One ranger rappelled into the crevasse as deep as possible, confirming that the ice bridge collapse had filled the narrow crevasse with a large volume of snow and ice approximately 80 feet below the glacier surface. The ranger was unable to descend further. The climber is presumed dead based on the volume of ice, the distance of the fall, and the duration of the burial. The feasibility of a body recovery will be investigated in the days ahead.”

Our condolences go to the family and friends of the climbers who lost their lives in Alaska this spring.