KATHMANDU, May 13 (Xinhua) — Two climbers, one from Switzerland and another from the United States, died on Mt. Qomolangma on Wednesday in the first reported deaths in the season’s expedition to the world’s tallest peak, the organizer said on Thursday.
“A Swiss mountaineer and an American national died on Wednesday night,” Mignma Sherpa, chairperson of the Seven Summit Treks, told Xinhua. “One died at around 8pm and another expired at midnight on the same day.”
It is the first time that deaths have been reported on Mt. Qomolangma, known as Sagarmatha in Nepal, in this spring season.
Chhang Dawa Sherpa, an owner of the Seven Summit Treks, shared details about the deaths on his social media account.
According to him, the Swiss mountaineer passed away near the South Summit close to the top of the mountain after suffering from exhaustion. The Swiss successfully reached the summit but began experiencing problems during his descent.
“We sent two additional Sherpas with oxygen and food, but unfortunately Sherpas couldn’t save him,” wrote Chhang Dawa.
Likewise, the American mountaineer took his last breath at Camp IV (7,900m-South Col) while descending from Hillary Step. “He had snow blindness and exhaustion, consequently it consumed more hours but with the help of extra oxygen supply and additional Sherpa support, he safely reached the South Col late Wednesday evening before he suddenly passed away,” Chhang Dawa noted.
Nepali authorities issued a record 408 climbing permits for Mt. Qomolangma this spring, but the climbers are facing additional risks this year as the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging Nepal and other parts of the world.
A number of climbers have publicly announced that they have contracted COVID-19 and had to give up their climbing plans this spring.
In 2019, nearly a dozen climbers died on Mt. Qomolangma, according to Nepal’s Department of Tourism. Enditem