ANCHORAGE - A climber who collapsed and died on the summit of Mount McKinley has been buried there, officials at Denali National Park said Monday.
James Nasti, 51, of Naperville, Ill., died of unknown causes on Friday after his seven-person climbing party reached the top of North America's highest peak.
"It was a shocking thing to the group at the time," said park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin. "There weren't any obvious symptoms either observed or relayed to other team members."
Nasti was part of a guided expedition led by Alpine Ascents International. The group of two guides and five clients had set out on June 20 and made a strong climb toward the summit on a beautiful day, McLaughlin said. They had gone up the West Buttress, the most frequented route to the top of the 20,320-foot mountain.
"We are unaware of any preexisting medical issues," she said. "We understand (Nasti) was very fit."
According to Nasti's climber registration form, this was his first attempt of McKinley. He had climbed several peaks in the western United States, including Mount Rainier in Washington state, Mount Hood in Oregon and others in Montana and Wyoming.
Denali National Park mountaineering rangers said a recovery of Nasti's body from the jagged ridge would be extremely risky.
A team from Alpine Ascents that was on a previously planned tour brought Nasti's body off the summit and buried him in a depression along the ridgeline, McLaughlin said.
Nasti's death brings the toll on McKinley to 101 people since 1932. Earlier this season, two mountaineers from Japan disappeared while attempting the technically demanding Cassin Ridge route.
Park officials said this is the first time a climber has died at the summit.
Juneau Empire ©2014. All Rights Reserved.