Remains of Japanese climber killed in fall on Denali have been recovered

Rangers have recovered the body of a man in his 40s from Japan who is assumed to have fallen to his death from a steep traverse on Denali’s West Buttress route last week, the National Park Service said Tuesday.

Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber whose body was found on the mountain Monday as T. Hagiwara from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, according to a statement on Tuesday. Park officials have said he was attempting a solo climb of Denali when he died.

Park rangers used location data from Hagiwara’s satellite communication device to locate him at 17,000 feet after concerned family members reported on Sunday that they had not heard from him for several days. Park officials believe he fell last Thursday from the steep traverse between the mountain’s 17,200-foot high camp and the 18,200-foot Denali Pass, according to Tuesday’s statement.

According to park officials, a mountaineering patrol at the 17,200-foot high camp was able to reach Hagiwara’s location mid-day on Monday, confirmed he had died, and secured him in place on the mountain. Later Monday afternoon, weather conditions improved enough for a recovery mission to launch from Talkeetna, the statement said.

While en route, rangers were notified about an injured climber, also on Denali’s West Buttress.

“A 3-member rope team had fallen just below the feature known as Zebra Rocks, with one team member suffering a lower leg injury,” the park said in its statement.

Rangers hauled the injured climber to a 7,200-foot base camp before returning to the upper mountain and recovering Hagiwara’s body, according to the park. His remains were taken to the State Medical Examiner.


The injured climber was transported from Denali to Talkeetna, and then transferred to an ambulance on Monday night, the park said.

Hagiwara’s death was the second climbing fatality in Denali National Park so far this season. A woman from New York died last month and her climbing partner was seriously injured when they fell on Mount Johnson in the park’s Ruth Gorge. The park has said that the climbing season typically begins in early May and ends in early July.