Falling Debris From Ruth Glacier Kills Climber and Injures His Rope-Team Partner at Alaska's Denali Park

A photo of Ruth Glacier at Denali National Park and Preserve.
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The 31-year-old man that survived sustained serious injuries.

An Idaho man has died and his partner was injured when falling ice from a glacier hit both men during at a climb at Denali National Park in Alaska, officials said. 

The 32-year-old victim, whose name was not released, died in the fatal accident, according to a park spokesperson. The other man, who was knocked unconscious and sustained serious injuries, was identified as a 31-year-old male from Logan, Utah, according to a national park press release.

According to the release, on May 13, the two men were climbing Reality Ridge when a chunk of glacier ice, also known as hanging serac, dislodged from a peak off the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, hitting the two-person rope team as they began their climb up the mountain. The incident happened at approximately 5 a.m., a park official said.

The surviving climber alerted officials once he regained consciousness and found his partner deceased. Officials said he used an Inreach satellite communication device to signal for aid. And, despite his own injuries, moved himself to a safer location until help arrived.

A helicopter pilot and two mountaineering rangers with the Denali Park arrived at the scene around 7 a.m. and took the injured man to a different area on Ruth Glacier, where he was given emergency medical treatment. He was flown to Talkeetna State Airport and transferred to an air ambulance for further medical care, park officials said.
The helicopter pilot and mountaineering rangers attempted to return to the accident site midday Thursday and recover the climber’s body, but clouds moved into the area, said park officials, NBC affiliate KTUU reported.

On Friday afternoon, park officials said the deceased man’s remains were recovered, KTUU reported.

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