May 15 (UPI) — A block of glacier ice dislodged and hit a two-person climbing team in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve Thursday, killing one and injuring the other.
According to the National Park Service, the two climbers had begun to climb the west face of Reality Ridge at about 5 a.m. when the ice hit them.
Officials have not released the climber’s names, but say the surviving climber was a 31-year-old man from Logan, Utah and that the climber who died was a 32-year-old man from Rigby, Idaho.
The Utah climber was knocked unconscious by the impact, discovering after he woke that his climbing partner had died.
At about 6 a.m., the Utah climber alerted park officials using a satellite communication device, and, although he was severely injured, was able to move out of the debris zone until rescuers arrived an hour later.
The rescuers — Denali National Park’s high-altitude helicopter pilot and two mountaineering rangers — evacuated the man to a safer location on the Ruth Glacier and provided emergency medical treatment before transferring him to an air ambulance for further medical care.
Park spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri told the Anchorage Daily News that the two men were roped together helicopter pilot and rangers were able to return to the glacier site Friday and recover the deceased climber’s remains.