Climber who died on McKinley was from Germany

May 21, 2012 - 4:15 PM

DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska (AP) — National park officials say a climber who died in a fatal fall on Alaska's Mount McKinley was from Germany.

The National Park Service on Monday identified the climber as 49-year-old Steffen Machulka of Halle, Germany. Machulka fell more than 1,000 feet Friday on a section of trail where most climbers choose to use fixed lines.

Witnesses say he was trying to recover a backpack that had started to slide downhill when he fell. He was not roped to his two climbing partners.

At the time of the fall, Machulka was at about 16,200 feet in elevation after ascending a section of the West Buttress route. Mount McKinley is North America's highest mountain.

The fall was the first serious incident on McKinley during the 2012 mountaineering season.