Remembering Nafiun Awal (‘08)


Awal was an experienced mountain climber and hiker. (Source: Alpine Ascents)

On May 8, Nafiun Awal (‘08) and his friend Eli Michel left to climb Mt. Denali in Alaska but did not return to camp. The two men have since been declared missing, and as of May 30, rangers are conducting an ongoing search for their bodies.

During his time at BLS, Awal enjoyed learning STEM subjects, especially physics, which he later majored in at Boston University. During a study-abroad session in Switzerland, he discovered his love for hiking, climbing and embarking on adventures in general.

Mariha Mahaseen (III), Awal’s cousin, recalls, “He was extremely caring and he always put others before himself.” Awal’s passion and perseverance  extended to his climbing. In fact, he took a break from pursuing a Ph. D. at New York University to further pursue climbing, and he traveled to Australia.

After Awal set out with Michel to climb the Moose’s Tooth trail on Mt. Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, their friends noticed that they had not checked in on their satellite communicators. Two days later, rangers conducted search parties but did not find the climbers. They did, however, recover their camp gear, including helmets, skis and tents.

After retracing the pair’s steps, searchers have concluded that they were likely caught in a small avalanche, and the chances of survival for the climbers, given their situation, is “outside the window of possibility.”

Mahaseen hopes that Awal will be remembered as “just a very caring person, [who was] very passionate about his job.”