Malaysian climber who died near top of Alaska’s Denali identified

Denali, the tallest mountain on the North American continent, is located about 60 miles northwest of Talkeetna, Alaska. (Mark Thiessen/AP)

A Malaysian climber likely died of exposure and altitude-related illness earlier this week after sheltering for days in a snow cave with minimal survival gear near the top of Denali, North America’s tallest mountain in Alaska, park officials said Saturday. 

Zulkifli Bin Yusof, 36, likely died Wednesday in a 5,974 meter elevation cave in Denali National Park and Preserve, park spokesman Paul Ollig said Saturday.

The National Park Service recovered his body Friday night, Ollig said.

Yusof was part of a three-man climbing team, all of whom listed their address as the Alpine Club of Malaysia in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, according to Ollig.

Yusof’s two partners survived.

Park rangers first received an SOS message from the team at 1 a.m. Tuesday, indicating the climbers were hypothermic and unable to descend after reaching the Alaskan mountain’s 6,190-meter summit.

One of the men, a 48-year-old, was rescued Tuesday night after descending to a 5,243-meter camp. He was described by the park as having severe frostbite and hypothermia.

Late Thursday, the park’s high-altitude helicopter pilot was able to drop a bag with survival gear near the snow cave and saw a climber waving at him, but strong winds prevented a rescue at that time, the park said.

The other climber, a 47-year-old, was rescued Friday morning after days of cloudy, windy conditions.

Two of the three men had previous experience on Denali, Ollig said.

All three had previously climbed other high-elevation mountains, he said.

The climber rescued Friday was medevaced to an Anchorage hospital for additional care and “was in surprisingly strong condition, walking on his own even, considering what he endured,” Ollig previously said.

The climber’s name and additional information about him and the other survivor would not be released by the park.

The other climber is also recovering at a hospital.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Crew member in ‘critical but stable’ condition after Iqaluit barge accident on Friday, CBC News

United States: Japanese climber dies after fall on Alaska’s Mount Denali, The Associated Press

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