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Alaska’s burly Mt. McKinley has claimed nearly 100 lives with its combination of cold temperatures and severe altitude. But for the first time, a climber died at the summit: Denali park officials confirmed that James Nasti of Naperville, Illinois, collapsed on Friday and perished on top of North America’s highest mountain.
The 51-year-old climber, a client of Alpine Ascents International, reportedly had been “climbing strongly” and showed no signs of duress or illness prior to his collapse. Nasti began his expedition on Denali on June 20.
Denali’s mountaineering rangers told Alpine Ascents to bring down their four other clients, but they also say that recovering Nasti’s body from the knife-edge ridge that runs along McKinley’s summit could be an extremely risky proposition.
The rangers also claim that this is the first time someone has died on McKinley’s summit.
— Ted Alvarez