Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
An experienced Austrian climber and professional guide has died trying to conquer alone the Denali, the highest mountain in North America, where daytime temperatures are still as low as -35 centigrade.
Alaska National Park Service said that the body of Matthias Rimml, 35, had been spotted during an aerial search in the fall zone below Denali Pass. Officials said the body would be recovered by an experienced ranger patrol.
The Alaska National Park Service announced: “Rimml likely fell on the steep traverse between Denali Pass at 18,200 feet and the 17,200-foot plateau, a notoriously treacherous stretch of the West Buttress route.”
According to local authorities, the Austrian started his climb on the 27th of April from the 7,200-foot Kahiltna Basecamp. The 35-year-old attempted the mountain on his own. He was the first registered climber at the Denali this year.
Authorities explained that Matthias had planned to climb Alpine-style, travelling fast with light gear. He reportedly planned to complete the expedition in five days though prepared with food and fuel to last him ten days.
The National Park Service announced that the 35-year-old had kept in touch with a friend on a regular basis to ensure he was fine. Officials said that the climber’s last known phone call had been made on the 30th of April from the 18,000-feet West Buttress of Denali.
Rimml was “tired but he was not in distress”, according to the National Park Service. His pal contacted Denali mountaineering rangers on the 3rd of May after not receiving a call for days.
The temperatures on the upper slopes of Denali have been extremely cold over the past week, ranging between daytime highs of -30 to -35 degrees centigrade.
Thirteen climbers fell to their death in that traverse overall, according to the National Park Service, which underlined that most of those falls had occurred on the descent.
Rimml grew up in Pettneu am Arlberg, a small town in Tyrol’s Landeck district. The municipality of 1,500 inhabitants is situated at the Arlberg, one of the most popular skiing tourism destinations of Austria.
Rimml set up his own small business Aqua Rocce seven years ago to offer guided climbing tours and adventure holidays all over the world.
On its website, the company says: “We take great pleasure in seeing our guests grow in their skills and abilities, supporting them and making mountain friends with them over the years.
“No matter if beginner or professional, we are looking forward to start an adventure together with you.”
Rimml described himself on his firm’s homepage as follows: “Growing up on the Arlberg, I have always had close contact with the mountains and nature.
“After my military service and several exciting trips around the world, I worked as a freelance ski instructor until 2015, mainly in the Arlberg, but also outside Europe.
“Also since 2012, I have been working for the Zuers Avalanche Commission as a blaster, until today.
“Through my father, canyoning has always been a part of my life, and in 2010 I decided to complete the training as a canyoning guide.
“As a professional mountain guide since 2015, I am already in the fourth generation and on the road worldwide. My specialities are long, technically difficult combined tours.
“With over 700,000 metres of altitude in winter, 200,000 metres of altitude in summer, with well over 90,000 km by car and 130 overnight stays in mountain huts or bivouacs per year, I am constantly on the move with my guests in the mountain world.”
With an altitude of 20,310 feet (6,190 metres), the Denali – formerly known as Mount McKinley, is one of the world’s Seven Summits. This term refers to the highest peaks of each of the seven continents. Climbing to the summit of all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge.
The name of the highest mountain in North America has been a subject of dispute for a long time. Its previous name meant to commemorate William McKinley, who had been President of the United States from 1897 until his assassination in 1901.
The Koyukon people who inhabit the area around the mountain have referred to the peak as “Denali”, or Deenaalee (‘the high one’) for centuries. Then US President Barack Obama announced the renaming of the mountain during a visit to Alaska in September 2015.