By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A climber on Alaska's Mount McKinley died in a 1,100-foot fall that started with an effort to retrieve a sliding backpack during an attempt to ascend North America's tallest peak, the National Park Service said on Saturday.
The Friday afternoon fall was the first serious accident in this year's climbing season, the service said.
The climber - who was not from the United States - was in a three-person party that was not roped together. At the time of the accident, the group was heading up from the 16,200-foot level of the 20,320-foot mountain, officials said.
The trio had just finished ascending a steep section when the climber tried to recover a backpack that had slipped downhill, according to the account given by one of the victim's expedition partners, said Maureen McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Denali National Park.
The fall was likely not a typical slide down a steep slope, McLaughlin said. "It was probably more of a situation of stumbling, going after the pack," she said.
The climber's body was recovered by park rangers and flown off the mountain, park officials said. The climber's identity was being withheld pending notification of family members.
In a typical year, a handful of climbers die on McKinley or other mountains in Denali National Park.
The McKinley climbing season runs from late April until early July, and 1,200 to 1,300 climbers typically attempt the mountain during that time.
(Editing by Mary Slosson and Doina Chiacu)