American climber dies on Everest, 4th fatality this season

American climber dies on Everest, 4th fatality this season

Nearly a thousand people will attempt to climb the mountain this year. (To file)

Kathmandu, Nepal:

An American mountaineer has died on Everest in the fourth fatality on the world’s highest peak this climbing season.

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

“He did not feel well and died in Camp 2. Efforts are underway to bring his body back,” Pasang Tshering Sherpa of Beyul Adventure told AFP.

“We are trying to send a helicopter but it is snowing and the weather is not favourable,” he said.

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

“We can confirm that this occurrence was not the result of a climbing accident or road condition that would have a potential impact or safety issue for other teams on the mountain,” the official said. IMG chief Eric Simonson in a statement posted on the company’s website.

Last year, Sugarman reached Camp 3 on Everest before giving up on 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 supply mission when a block of glacial ice fell and dragged them into a deep crevasse.

Nepalese guides – usually ethnic Sherpas from nearby valleys – are essential to the multi-million dollar industry, taking enormous risks to prepare climbing routes and transport food and equipment.

Traffic jam

Nepal has issued 466 permits to foreign climbers, and as most will need a guide, more than 900 people will attempt to summit this season, which runs until early June.

This could lead to heavy traffic and bottlenecks en route to the summit, especially if there is a shorter ascent window due to adverse weather conditions.

On average, about five mountaineers die each year on the world’s highest peak.

But in 2019, 11 people died, four of which are blamed on overcrowding.

Climate change may exacerbate the risks, with climbers reporting widening crevasses, running water on previously snow-covered slopes and more glacial formation of lakes.

Nepal is home to eight of the 10 highest peaks in the world and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds generally calm.

More than 600 climbers aim to climb other Himalayan mountains this season.

Last month, Northern Irish mountaineer Noel Hanna, 56, died on Annapurna, the world’s 10th highest mountain, which has an even higher death rate than Everest.

The 56-year-old adventurer was returning from a successful summit of the 8,091-metre (26,545ft) peak when he died at Camp 4.

A day later, record-holding Indian mountaineer Baljeet Kaur, 28, and his compatriot Arjun Vajpai, 30, were both rescued from Annapurna after a search lasting several hours.

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

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Leave a Comment