Climbing season wraps up on North America's tallest peak

Denali-Carlos Paez 6-24-16
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The climbing season on Denali, North America's tallest mountain is wrapping up.

The National Park Service says it airlifted its people and equipment on Tuesday from the 7,000 foot base camp and from the camp at the 14,000 foot level.

Maureen Gaultiere, public information officer for the park service says there are still 11 climbers on Denali trying to reach the summit.

According to Gaultiere, the season has been a successful one. Overall, she says 1,126 mountaineers attempted to climb the 20,320 foot tall mountain. Of those, 60% made it to the top. Gaultiere says that's well above the historic average of 52%.

It's also a dramatic turn around from the beginning of the season when high winds and low visibility forced many climbers to abandon their attempts to summit. Gaultiere says back on May 18-th only 30% of climbers reached the top. She says the weather steadily improved and with it the success rate.

The were two deaths that marred the season. A Japanese climber died on the mountain due to an illness. Gaultiere says the National Park Service is still waiting for autopsy reports, but says the cause of death was likely caused by the high altitude. Another climber was killed in a fall. The Czech Republic climber was skiing down the mountain when he lost his footing.

The climbing season on Denali normally runs from early May through the middle of July.

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