Climber dies during Denali summit attempt

A giant snowy mountain
Denali in Feb. 2021 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

A climber has died after collapsing while attempting to summit Denali, the National Park Service said Saturday.

The climber, 48-year-old Fernando Birman of Stockton, New Jersey, collapsed Friday evening at an elevation of 19,700 feet (6,004 meters) while on an attempt to reach the top of the 20,310-foot (6,190-meter) peak, the park service said.

The park service statement said Birman’s guides initiated CPR but he never regained his pulse.

Birman was part of a 12-member guided tour that began their ascent on May 22, said Sharon Stiteler, a spokesperson for Denali National Park.

After his death, Birman’s body was moved to a plateau and taken down from the mountain by helicopter before being sent to the Alaska medical examiner’s office late Friday night.

The park statement said the cause of death was unknown but was consistent with sudden cardiac arrest.

There have been 129 climbing deaths at the park since 1932, Stiteler said.

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