Argentine mountain climber found dead on Mt. McKinley

An Argentine mountain climber was found dead at high camp on Mount McKinley Sunday, the National Park Service said.

Heraldo Javier Callupan, 39, of General Roca, Argentina, appeared to have died of "unknown medical issues," Park Service spokesperson Maureen Gualtieri reported. Callupan was found lying in the snow in the middle of the camp, without visible signs of trauma.

Callupan had begun climbing the West Buttress route up the mountain on May 1. Other climbing parties said that he was headed up to high camp, at 17,200 feet, on May 6.

He was the only person camped at the site at that time, until May 10 when a two-person team arrived at the camp and found his body.

That night the team contacted pararescuemen from the Alaska Air National Guard 212th Rescue Squadron who were camping at 14,200 feet. They relayed the discovery to Talkeetna rangers.

Without any staff stationed at the camp this early in the season, and with delays in direct communication, it took several days to determine Callupan's identity, Gualtieri said.

Callupan's remains will be recovered from the high camp when Park Service mountain rangers "are safely acclimatized for the recovery effort, and when weather conditions allow," Gualtieri said.

The State Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Last year, only one fatality occurred on Mount McKinley and was also early in the season, Gualtieri said.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.