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Dodge County native, partner dies in Argentina

CLYMAN, WI (WTAQ) - A mountain climber from Dodge County and his partner have died in Argentina.

22-year-old Jarod VonRueden of Clyman and 28-year-old Francis Keenan of Pennsylvania were just below the summit of Aconcagua when VonRueden activated a rescue beacon. That was on New Year's Eve.  

VonRueden's family learned on Sunday that rescuers had given up hope that he and Keenan were still alive. Their bodies were found in a crevice, and crews were developing a plan to retrieve them Tuesday.  

Officials said severe weather on the mountain was also a problem. Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.  

VonRueden's cousin, Julie Feldman, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the pair started planning a couple months ago to make their adventurous journey. Feldman said they began their ascent on December 23rd.  

The mountain is located in the Andes range in the Argentine province of Mendoza.

VonRueden graduated from Watertown High School. His family said he was an avid climber, and he was studying to become an emergency medical technician. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)