Another climber dies on Mount McKinley

Posted: Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The second person within a week has collapsed and died shortly after reaching the summit of Mount McKinley, officials at Denali National Park and Preserve said Tuesday.

Pungkas Tri Baruno, 20, of Jakarta, Indonesia, died Monday night while descending North America's tallest mountain, park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said.

Baruno collapsed about a quarter-mile - or about a 15-minute walk in a relatively flat region - from a camp at the 17,200-foot level, she said.

Climbing guides unsuccessfully tried to revive Baruno. McLaughlin said the cause of death remained unknown.

"We don't have any information on his health, but it would certainly appear that he was a very active person," McLaughlin said.

Plans to recover the body remained on hold until weather permits a high-altitude helicopter to access the area, perhaps as early as today.

Baruno was part of a guided expedition led by Mountain Trip. The group began to climb the West Buttress ascent of the 20,320-foot mountain on June 22.

Baruno, one climbing partner and two guides reached the summit on Monday. One person did not finish the climb, she said.

According to Baruno's climber registration form, this was his first attempt at McKinley. All his previous ascents were in Indonesia.

Baruno was the second casualty reported this week and fourth this season.

On Friday, James Nasti, 51, of Naperville, Ill., died at the summit. Park officials said Nasti is the first climber known to have died at the summit.

In late May, two mountaineers from Japan disappeared and are presumed dead. They were attempting the technically demanding Cassin Ridge route.

Baruno's death brings the death toll on McKinley to 102 people since 1932.



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