Climber dies after reaching summit of Mt. McKinley

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 12:34 AM

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A climber died in his tent shortly after reaching the summit of Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak, the National Park Service said on Saturday.

Brian Young, 52, of Kodiak, Alaska, was pronounced dead Friday at the mountain's high camp at the 17,200-foot level. Young had just completed a 20-hour trek up to the peak's 20,320-foot summit and back and was back in camp to sleep when he suddenly stopped breathing, the Park Service said.

Young's tent mates summoned help from mountaineering rangers stationed at the camp, who tried to resuscitate him, the Park Service said. The apparent cause of death was cardiac arrest, the Park Service said.

The body will be recovered when weather conditions allow, the Park Service said.

The 17,200-foot high camp is the commonly used resting spot for climbers launching their final assault on the summit or returning from there.

It was the fifth climber death this season on McKinley, North America's tallest peak, and the eighth climber death this season in Denali National Park. Among those killed was a commercial guide leading an expedition on the mountain and climbers from Japan, Switzerland, Italy and elsewhere.

The deadliest year for climbers in the park was 1992, when 13 perished, including 11 on McKinley.

The McKinley climbing season generally runs from late April until early July. About 1,200 to 1,300 people climb the mountain each year, while a much smaller number of people climb neighboring peaks in Denali National Park.

(Editing by Greg McCune)