Last updated: February 28. 2014 9:48AM - 1741 Views
By Dinesh Ramde Associated Press



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MILWAUKEE — The bodies of two American climbers were recovered this week from the Argentinian slope where they died two months ago, the relative of one climber said Thursday.


Frank Keenan, 28, of Clarks Summit, Pa. and Jarod VonRueden, 22, of Clyman, Wis., and were climbing Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in North and South America. They apparently slipped and fell into a fissure of rock and ice, U.S. officials told the climbers’ relatives on Dec. 31.


A helicopter spotted their bodies but rescuers couldn’t immediately reach the men, who were presumed dead.


VonRueden’s cousin told The Associated Press on Thursday that both bodies were recovered this week. The bodies are being sent back to the U.S., where funeral arrangements still were being made, said Julie Feldman of St. Paul, Minn.


VonRueden’s parents and one of Keenan’s relatives went to Argentina to identify the bodies, she said.


“They’re bringing the boys home,” she said.


Feldman said the climbers were descending when the weather worsened. They were in an area with loose rock, which may have contributed to their fall, she said.


She said it took so long to recover their bodies for a few reasons. The climbers had taken a rarely used route, which required additional planning to map out how to reach them, and because they were presumed dead the priority was to conduct the recovery effort in a way that presented the least danger to the rescuers.


Relatives of both climbers remembered the men as adventurous spirits who had a passion for traveling and being outdoors.


Keenan’s mother, Diane Lozinger, previously told AP her son, who hoped to work as a guide for international mountain climbers, kissed her as he rushed out the door for the trip. Knowing she was frightened for him, he told her that if anything happened she should take comfort in knowing he died doing what he loved.


VonRueden backpacked in China and the Grand Canyon, he went mountain-climbing in Ecuador and he’d just scaled Alaska’s Mount McKinley last summer, Feldman said.


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