The fourth death in the still young spring season is reported from the highest mountain on earth. According to media reports, a 69-year-old retired doctor from the United States, who had ascended to Camp 2 at about 6,400 meters to acclimatize, passed away. He had not felt well when he arrived at the camp and died there a short time later, they said. It is possible that he suffered from high altitude sickness.
HAPE on Cho Oyu
Last year on Everest, the American had reached Camp 3 at about 7,300 meters. According to information from Everest expert Alan Arnette, the former doctor had had to turn back in 2016 during an attempt on the eight-thousander Cho Oyu in Tibet at 6,400 meters because of an high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) – “despite no earlier issues with altitude sickness,” as Alan wrote.
IMG: Route was not to blame
U.S. expedition operator International Mountain Guides confirmed that one of its clients died at Camp 2. His death was “not the result of a climbing accident or route condition that would be of potential impact or safety concern to any other teams on the mountain,” IMG let it be known.
However, as I learned from Everest Base Camp, the route in the Lhotse flank above Camp 2 is at high risk of rockfall because little snow fell on Everest from November to March.
As reported, the collapse of a serac in the Khumbu Icefall in mid-April had killed the Nepalese climbers Da Chhiri Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa and Lakpa Rita Sherpa. Canadian climber Jill Wheatley started a fund-raising campaign on the Internet for the families of the three deceased climbers.