Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has died during his 8th attempt to climb Mt. Everest.
Kuriki was found in his tent over four-and-a-half miles above sea level by a sherpa, a tourism department official told Reuters. The New York Times, however, is reporting that Kuriki slipped and fell during his final summit attempt.
On Saturday, only a few thousand feet from the summit, Kuriki posted a video to Facebook about having a cough and a fever, but felt he had the strength to continue climbing. In one of his final Facebook posts, he wrote: “Now I feel the pain and difficulty of this mountain. I appreciate it and I am climbing.” Later updates from his blog, however, suggest that Kuriki was heading back down to Camp II from Camp III dude to being in poor health. His body was airlifted to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where an autopsy is planned. He had made seven previous attempts to scale the world’s tallest mountain.
In 2012, Kuriki had to have nine fingertips amputated after surviving two days in a snow hole, also on Everest, at negative 20 degrees Celsius. He tried again in 2015, before turning back due to poor weather conditions. That climb was attempted in the fall, when weather is typically too difficult for even the most experienced climbers.
Kuriki was a popular figure in the Asian mountaineering world, with over 150,000 followers on Facebook. He often gave himself intentional challenges – such as climbing alone and without supplemental oxygen.
The Everest climbing season only lasts from March through May, and Kuriki’s is the third confirmed death. 63-year-old Macdeonian climber Gjeorgi Petkov suffered cardiac arrest above Camp III, over 20,000 feet above sea level. Lam Babu Sherpa, from Nepal, also went missing and his bag and shoes were found, though his body was not. But there have also been some successes on Everest this year.
Ani Lhakpa Sherpa, a Nepali woman who lives in Connecticut, scaled the north side of the summit for the ninth time, a women’s record. And American climber and mountain guide Adrian Ballinger recently summitted again as well.
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