Missing Seattle climber presumed dead in Denali National Park

May 12, 2023, 8:17 AM | Updated: 9:26 am

missing climber denali...

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, photo, North America's tallest peak, Denali, (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Update 5/17 8:12 a.m.:

Searchers in Alaska have given up hope of finding a missing Seattle man alive. Officials say two climbers are believed dead as they prepared to scale a peak in Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve last week.

Thirty-two-year-old Nafiun Awal and his climbing partner from Indiana are believed to have fallen last Friday while climbing Moose’s Tooth in Denali National Park.

Searchers have found their tracks and believe they were caught in a small avalanche and may have been pushed into a crevasse.

The park says that leaders of the search efforts “have concluded that survival is outside the window of possibility,” citing the rocky terrain, the climbers’ limited supplies, cold temperatures and the time that has passed since the men were last heard from.


A Seattle climber is one of two men missing in Alaska’s Denali National Park after their tracks disappeared near the site of an avalanche.

Rangers are searching for the two overdue climbers, Eli Michel of Columbia City, Ind., and Nafiun Awal of Seattle, last known to be near Moose’s Tooth, a 10,300-foot mountain.

Report tells story of ‘traumatic fall’ after fatal Colchuck avalanche

The two last radioed in to check in with friends Friday. When they were not heard from again, their friends contacted park rangers Sunday.

Rangers found the climbers’ unattended tent and ski tracks heading to the base of the route. They found the climbers’ skis, left behind when they apparently switched to crampons for the climb.

“The tracks do disappear at the avalanche,” park spokesperson Maureen Gualtieri said in an email to the Associated Press.

Rangers are now conducting ground and aerial searches focusing on the lower portion of the avalanche’s path.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Missing Seattle climber presumed dead in Denali National Park