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A Second Fatal Collapse on Mt. McKinley

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Date: July 8, 2008
Contact: Maureen McLaughlin, 907-733-9103

For the second time in one week, a mountaineer collapsed and died while climbing Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve.  Pungkas Tri Baruno, age 20, of Jakarta, Indonesia was descending the West Buttress route the night of July 7, 2008 when he collapsed approximately one quarter-mile from the 17,200-foot high camp.  Baruno’s guides initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and immediately called for assistance from another guided team at high camp via family band (FRS) radio.  CPR was performed for over one hour, but they were unable to revive the patient.  

Baruno was a client on a Mountain Trip expedition that began their West Buttress ascent on June 22.  The team’s three clients were all members of a scouting group from Indonesia.  Baruno, one of his teammates, and their two guides had reached the summit late in the afternoon of July 7.  The cause of death is unknown at this time.

The remains of the deceased climber are currently in a protected and generally flat area outside of the 17,200-foot high camp.  The National Park Service currently plans to recover the remains with the high altitude Lama helicopter when weather permits.


Earlier in the week, an Illinois man suddenly collapsed and died on Mt. McKinley’s 20,320-foot summit; in light of the extreme elevation and technical terrain, his remains are unable to be recovered from the summit at this time.

Did You Know?

a lake reflecting a tree-covered hill

The vast landscapes of interior Alaska are changing. Large glaciers are receding, permafrost is melting and woody plants are spreading. Comparison of "then-and-now" photographs and data from major vegetation monitoring should allow detection, understanding and potential management of these changes.