Climber’s final message before passing on Mt Denali

Gone too soon: Zaid showing a photo of his late brother, Zulkifli, on his phone. — Bernama

TAIPING: The Malaysian climber who died during a climbing expedition to Mount Denali in Alaska managed to send a WhatsApp message to his family, informing them that he was stranded at the peak.

According to the victim’s younger brother, Zaid Yusuf, he had never thought that Zulkifli, 37, would die doing what he loved most.

“He loved mountain climbing. He had climbed two of the highest peaks in the seven continents – Aconcagua in Argentina (6,960m) and Elbrus (5,642m) in Russia.

“He even scaled Mount Everest, although not all the way up to the peak,” he told Bernama when met at his home in Kampung Tebok, near Trong, yesterday.

Zaid, 34, said the last time he saw his brother was two weeks before the expedition departed from Kuala Lumpur to Alaska on May 14.

He said Zulkifli rarely shared about the extreme sports activities he was involved in, but he might have told some of his adventures to their sister Zarina, 35, since he had set her as his emergency contact.

According to Zaid, when the family received news that Zulkifli was stranded on the peak of Mount Denali, they could only surrender to Allah SWT and pray for his safety.

“He managed to send a distress message to our sister, informing her that he was stranded and that the rescue team could not land in the area due to bad weather conditions.

“We received news about his death around 3am Malaysian time,” he added.

Zaid also said his brother was a man of few words but was greatly loved by his friends.

On June 1, Kelab Jelajah Alpine Malaysia announced that Zulkifli was one of the three Malaysian climbers who had been stranded at an altitude of 19,700ft on Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America, since May 28.

He died at 6am on May 29 (local time) while taking refuge in a snow cave known as Football Field.

Zulkifli’s remains are expected to arrive at the Bayan Lepas International Airport in Penang at 8.55am today on the Korean Airlines flight from Los Angeles.

His body will be taken to the Al Mahmudiah Mosque in Kampung Temelok, Trong, for the funeral rites and laid to rest after the zohor prayer.

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