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Sixth 2011 Denali Fatality

Pictured above is Denali (20,320′) as seen from the West Buttress route. In 1992, the deadliest season in the park’s history, eleven climbers died on the mountain.
[Photo] Keese Lane

June 30, the body of Juergen Kanzian, was found at about 15,300 feet in Denali’s (20,320′) Oriental Express couloir. Kanzian, a 41-year-old mountaineering guide from Koetschach-Mauthen, Austria, had originally planned to ski the West Buttress route. When he failed to return to high camp June 28, NPS rangers were notified and a search began the next morning. The following evening, rangers stationed at 14,200 feet located Kanzian’s body with a spotting scope. The park’s A-Star B3 helicopter then swept the area and discovered his skis and backpack stashed at a rock band in the Football Field, more than 4,000 feet above his body.

Kanzian, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Austrian Armed Forces, served as the personal mountain guide to Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer and was an experienced climber. Denali would have been his fourth peak of the Seven Summits, after Mt. Elbrus (5,642m), Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and Aconcagua (6,962m).