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Body of solo climber not heard from in almost a week found on Denali

North America's tallest peak, Denali.
North America's tallest peak, Denali.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:59 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The body of a 35-year-old man that rangers were searching for has been found on Denali, the park said on Friday.

Denali National Park and Preserve had said on Thursday that rangers were searching for Matthias Rimml, a solo climber from Austria, after a friend of his reported Rimml had not been in contact in several days.

On Friday, the park announced in a press release that Rimml’s body was found during a high aerial search on Friday morning. The last time he had been heard from was Saturday, April 30 when he checked in with a contact on the ground. He was at 18,000 feet of elevation at the time, on Denali’s West Buttress.

“Aerial spotters on the park’s high altitude helicopter sighted Rimml’s body in the fall zone below Denali Pass,” the release said.

According to the release, Rimml “likely fell on the steep traverse” between Denali pass — located at 18,200 feet — and the 17,200-foot plateau. The park described it as “a notoriously treacherous stretch of the West Buttress route.”

Including Rimml, 13 climbers have died in falls along that traverse, the park said, the majority of which happen on the descent. Maureen Gualtieri, a public information officer at the park, said in an email that the last climber fatality on Denali was in 2017.

“Recovery efforts will not be attempted until an (National Park Service) ranger patrol is acclimated to high altitude and able to safely perform the recovery,” the release said.

Gualtieri wrote that the park will not have acclimated rangers at 17,200 feet of elevation for at least a week or two, so that’s the earliest recovery efforts could begin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.

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