Everest claims fourth climber this week during busy climbing season

Four climbers died on Everest this week, including a Kenyan who was attempting to be the first African to reach the mountain’s summit without supplemental oxygen. Photo by Narendra Shrestha/EPA-EFE

May 24 (UPI) — A Kenyan climber who had been missing near the summit of Mount Everest has been found dead, other climbers reported Thursday.

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, 44, and his Nepalese guide Nawang Sherpa, also 44, went missing on Wednesday during Kirui’s attempt to become the first African to reach the summit of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.


Sherpa told people at base camp that Kirui had been showing signs of altitude sickness and other “abnormal behaviour” and “refused to return and even consume bottled oxygen”, the BBC reported.

Kirui, a banker at one of Kenya’s largest lenders, said in social media posts and in a message to the BBC that he had undergone extensive physical preparations to climb Everest.

“The main/specific preparation was to climb Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, in September 2023,” he wrote in an email to the BBC.

“However, I have climbed locally in Kenya, I have climbed a lot of stairs, I have done exercises in the gym and I have run as specific preparation. Also for 10 years I have been climbing, I have run marathons and ultramarathons, which adds to the general preparation” .

Kirui said he had planned to descend on Wednesday and had expressed confidence that he could reach the top of the world’s highest peak and descend it without bottled oxygen. Doing so is very uncommon among climbers, even experienced ones, but Kiriu said Sherpa would have supplemental oxygen and emergency supplies on hand in case he needed them. Kiriu was attempting to be the first African to reach the summit of Everest without the help of additional oxygen.

Sherpa’s body has not yet been located.

Although it has become commercialized and littered in recent years, Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,040 feet, remains among the most sought after by both high-profile, experienced mountaineers and some climbers with little or no experience. They have no idea about the sport and depend on professional guides to help them reach the top using routes fixed with ropes, but which require crossing huge cracks on metal ladders linked to create a makeshift bridge.

The Nepalese newspaper Himalayan Times quoted Mr. Sherpa informing the base camp that Kirui had shown “abnormal behavior” and “refused to return and even consume bottled oxygen.”

Contact with the duo was lost shortly after the message, base camp officials told the newspaper.

Kirui’s close friend and climbing partner Kipkemoi Limo told the BBC that he died from a fall.

Kirui’s family and friends are asking if he consented to being buried on Everest or if he would have wanted his body returned to Kenya, which will cost $190,000.

Fellow Everest climbers are shocked and shocked by the death, although it is not the first of the season and may not be the last. May is the month of the year with the most promotion attempts.

“Our brother is now resting on the mountain. It’s been a long night,” fellow Kenyan mountaineer James Muhia, who had been sharing regular updates on Kirui’s attempt, said on X.

Kirui’s death was the fourth reported on Everest this week. A Romanian climber and a British climber and their Nepalese guide were also found dead on Tuesday, the Himalayan Times reported.