A Second Fatal Collapse on Mt. McKinley
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?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.