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Solo climber found dead after fall from Denali, highest mountain peak in North America

USA TODAY

A solo climber was found dead Monday on Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America.

Mountaineering rangers from Denali National Park and Preserve at 17,000 feet of elevation on the mountain's West Buttress route after being contacted by a family member that had not heard from the climber for several days, according to a release from the park.

The climber had previously been regularly checking in with family via an InReach communication device during their attempted solo climb of Denali.

Rangers patrolling the upper mountain found the climber's empty tent at the top of the 16,200-foot ridge, and determined through interviews that the climber was last seen by another climbing team moving from the 17,200-foot plateau to the Denali Pass at 18,200 feet of elevation on May 15.

February 19, 2022, Alaska; Views of Denali National Park from George Parks highway (Alaska Route 3), February 19, 2022.

Rangers at the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station were able to collect satellite location data from the climber and found their probable location at 17,000 feet of elevation, data that had not changed since May 16, which the park said suggested a fall from the Denali pass took place that day.

A mountaineering patrol at the 17,200 feet in elevation camp found the climber on Monday, after weather on the upper mountain cleared, and confirmed the climber was dead. The climber's body was secured in place and returned to high camp, and the park said will be "attempted when weather conditions allow."

Denali National Park and Preserve said the climber's identity will be released once family has been notified.

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Where is Denali?

is located in Denali Park, Alaska, more than 230 miles north of Anchorage. The park received just under 500,000 visitors in 2023, according to .

How tall is Denali?

Denali, also called Mount McKinley, measures 20,310 feet at its peak, making it the tallest mountain in North America.

How many people are climbing Denali?

Denali's climbing season typically begins in early May and ends in early July, according to Denali National Park and Preserve. There are currently 352 climbers on Denali's West Buttress route, the majority of whom are on a much lower part of the mountain.

At least along the West Buttress route since 1980, including this week's death.