Mountaineer Dies On Denali Descent

A Czech mountaineer died Saturday while descending Denali, the highest mountain in North America.

A climber died on Denali on Saturday; photo by NPS Photo / Tim Rains
A climber died on Denali on Saturday; photo by NPS Photo / Tim Rains

According to the National Park Service, Pavel Michut, 45, was skiing the Messner Couloir at about 17,000 feet when he fell, tumbling about 1,500 feet.

He is the only climber killed on the mountain this season.

“The event was witnessed by multiple parties at the 14,200-foot camp on Denali,” said a Denali National Park news release. “A nearby climbing team was on scene within 10 minutes and determined that the skier had died of multiple traumatic injuries suffered in the fall.”

Michut was traveling with one other climber at the time of the accident. It was not clear if he reached the summit before descent.

Denali is the highest mountain in North America, scraping the stratosphere at 20,310 feet. While not as grandiose as some mountains in the Himalayas, climbing Denali comes with significant risks.

About 100 people have died scaling Denali, which has seen an estimated 32,000 attempts at a 50 percent success ratio. This season has been a tough one for climbers due to weather, with just 19 percent reaching the summit, according to the Alaska News Dispatch.

As of Sunday there were 457 people on the mountain hoping for a break in weather to summit during the common weather windows that occur at the end of May and beginning of June.

Michut’s body will be recovered from the site when weather conditions allow.

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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie’s Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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