US climber dies on Everest, 4th death this season

US climber dies on Everest, 4th death this season

Almost a thousand people will try to climb the mountain this year. (File)

Kathmandu, Nepal:

In the fourth death on the highest peak in the world this climbing season, a US climber died on Everest.

Jonathan Sugarman, 69, was on an acclimatization rotation at around 6,400 meters (21,000 feet) when he died Monday, his expedition organizer said.

“He was unwell and died in Camp 2. Efforts are being made to bring his body (back),” Beyul Adventure’s Pasang Tshering Sherpa told AFP.

“We’re trying to send a helicopter, but it’s snowing and the weather isn’t favorable,” he said.

Beyul Adventure is a local partner of US-based expedition operator International Mountain Guides, who confirmed Sugarman’s death “with deep sadness.”

“We can confirm that this event was not the result of a climbing accident or course condition that would have potential repercussions or safety concerns for other teams on the mountain,” IMG CEO Eric Simonson said in a statement on the company’s website.

Last year, Sugarman reached Camp 3 on Everest before giving up an ascent.

This year’s spring climbing season on Everest got off to a tragic start last month with the deaths of three Nepalese climbers.

The trio were crossing the treacherous Khumbu Icefall on a resupply mission when a block of glacial ice fell and tore them into a deep fissure.

Essential to the multimillion-dollar industry, Nepali guides — usually ethnic Sherpas from nearby valleys — take enormous risks to prepare climbing routes and transport food and equipment.

traffic jam

Nepal has issued 466 permits to foreign climbers, and with most requiring a guide, more than 900 people will attempt to climb the summit this season, which lasts until early June.

This could cause heavy traffic and bottlenecks on the way to the summit, especially when the climbing window is shorter due to unfavorable weather conditions.

On average, about five climbers die every year on the highest peak in the world.

But in 2019, 11 people died, with four of the deaths attributed to overcrowding.

It’s possible that climate change is exacerbating the risks, as climbers report widening crevasses, running water on previously snow-covered slopes, and the formation of glacial lakes.

Home to eight of the world’s ten highest peaks, Nepal welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring when temperatures are warm and winds are usually calm.

More than 600 climbers plan to scale other Himalayan mountains this season.

Last month, Northern Ireland climber Noel Hanna, 56, died on Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain in the world, which has an even higher death rate than Everest.

The 56-year-old adventurer was returning after a successful ascent of the 8,091-meter (26,545-foot) peak when he died at Camp 4.

A day later, Indian record climber Baljeet Kaur (28) and his compatriot Arjun Vajpai (30) were rescued from Annapurna after hours of searching.

Later, a third Indian climber, Anurag Maloo, 34, was rescued alive after falling 300 meters (985 feet) into a crevasse.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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