Denali Climber Dead: Experienced Mountain Climber Dies From Unknown Causes

A Denali climber was found dead after venturing 17,200 feet to the camp of Mount McKinley located in Alaska’s Denali National Park.

Heraldo Javier Callupan was from General Roca, Argentina and apparently died of unknown medical issues, CNN explains. The National Park Service reported his death after he was discovered in the snow with no “visible signs of trauma.” Callupan’s body was found by two people just after midnight Thursday with his gear nearby; his tent hadn’t yet been set up, NPS spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri said.

The Denali climber found dead this week is the first one reported on the 20,320-foot mountain officially named as Mount McKinley. It’s actually known as Denali.

Callupan started his climb up the West Buttress route on May 1 and made his way to the 17,200-foot camp on May 6, as other climbing parties at the mountain’s 14,200-foot camp have confirmed.

There weren’t any other campers known to be in the area during the time he was up there, according to NPS.

NPS worked with the Argentine Consulate to notify Callupan’s family. It took several days to identify the Denali climber who was found dead. Due to harsh snow and windy conditions on the mountain, it delayed recovery efforts of the climber’s remains. NPS mountaineering rangers were forced to wait out the inclement conditions before flying a helicopter up the mountain to retrieve his body. They didn’t expect conditions to improve until the weekend.

Once the dead climber’s remains are retrieved, they’ll be taken to the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s Office, which will conduct an autopsy and determine the exact cause of death.


According to the report, the NPS has recorded 123 fatalities on Denali since 1932. The most common cause of death has been climbing falls — followed by exposure, avalanches, and “acute altitude illness.” Gualtieri comments that Denali is “a very rigorous climb.”

In a report by WMDT 47 News, it reveals that Callupan was a mountain guide in South America and was a very experienced climber. Gualtieri said that Callupan had climbed several other major peaks. Records with NPS show this was his first ascent of Denali.

The Inquisitr has written about other mountain climbers who’ve gone missing and are later found dead. Several are famously associated with Mount Everest. The latest incident involved a number of climbers found dead after a large quake hit the mountain.

[Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images]