Climber Dies in Pursuit of an Everest Record

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui hoped to be first African to reach summit without extra oxygen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2024 11:27 AM CDT
Kenyan Climber Dies on Mount Everest
Mount Everest is seen from the Nepal side in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, File)

The end of this year's climbing season on Mount Everest is approaching, and while some climbers have set records, several others have joined the long list of people who have died on the mountain. Among them is Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, a 40-year-old banker from Kenya who had hoped to become the first African person to climb the world's highest mountain without extra oxygen, the BBC reports. Officials said that after contact was lost with the pair on Wednesday, a search team found Kirui's body near the summit; Nawang Sherpa, his 44-year-old Nepali guide, is still missing.

In an Instagram post six days ago, Kirui said he was prepared for the climb and that his guide would carry an emergency bottle of oxygen in case "I go lights out or if I go bananas." His climb had been closely followed in Kenya, where foreign ministry official Korir Sing'oei mourned him as a "fearless, audacious spirit," the AP reports. Fellow climber James Muhia said he had cried for the first time since his father died. "No one can ever understand the heart and the mind of a mountaineer," he said in a post on X. "The drive that takes us to some places. It is a sad day. Our brother is now one with the mountain."

British climber Daniel Paul Paterson and guide Pas Tenji Sherpa have been missing since an ice collapse near the summit on Tuesday. The Himalayan Times reports that Romanian climber Gabriel Tabara was found dead in his tent on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Mongolian climbers Usukhjargal Tsedendamba and Prevsuren Lkhagvajav died during their descent from the summit. (More Mount Everest stories.)

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