A pair of climbers had started their climb up the face of a ridge in an Alaska national park when a chunk of glacier ice came crashing down from the peak.
The block of ice slammed into the climbers as it fell from Ruth Glacier in Denali National Park early Thursday, the National Park Service said.
A 31-year-old man from Logan, Utah, was knocked unconscious by the ice. When he regained consciousness, he found his climbing partner had died from the impact.
“He located his partner and determined that the 32-year-old male from Rigby, Idaho, had died in the accident,” the National Park Service said in a news release. “The surviving climber then alerted park officials using an InReach satellite communication device.”
The survivor was injured, but he was able to move from the “debris zone” to wait for rescue officials. Within an hour, Denali National Park rangers flew in a helicopter to the site of the accident.
From there, the rangers took the injured climber to get medical care. He was taken away by air ambulance.
The Idaho climber’s body was left in the area for now because clouds prevented a helicopter pilot from entering the area.
“When weather conditions allow, mountaineering rangers will return to the site to assess the possibility of recovering the climber’s remains,” the National Park Service said.
Denali National Park has hundreds of glaciers within the park, some as high as 19,000 feet, according to the National Park Service. Ruth Glacier is one of the longest within the park and is more than 30 miles long.