Mourning for Shinji Tamura

Shinji Tamura (1966-2013)
Shinji Tamura (1966-2013)

In the north of Pakistan, the search for the Japanese climber Shinji Tamura, well known in the high-altitude mountaineering scene, has been suspended. According to the Pakistani newspaper “Dawn”, Tamura, together with his compatriot Takayasu Semba, had attempted last week to scale an unclimbed almost 6,000-meter-high mountain in the Kande Valley in alpine style (without bottled oxygen, high altitude porters, high camps and fixed ropes).

At 5,300 meters, the two Japanese fell, the newspaper reports. Takayasu, who was only slightly injured, pitched a tent for his more seriously injured rope partner and descended to base camp to get help. However, a rescue team later failed to find Shinji. It is speculated that Tamura eventually tried to descend alone, possibly falling into a crevasse.

Failed attempt in the same valley in 2021

The Kande Valley is located about 50 kilometers as the crow flies east of the town of Skardu – near the village of Hushe, where many Baltoro trekking tours end. In summer 2021, the two Japanese had unsuccessfully attempted to first climb the 5,980-meter-high Bondit Peak in the same valley in alpine style but had turned back at 5,500 meters because of too high avalanche danger. A year later, a Hungarian expedition had succeeded in the first ascent of this mountain, also in alpine style.

Four times on top of Mount Everest


Shinji Tamura would have turned 57 yesterday, Monday. The Japanese had been living in Zermatt, Switzerland, for more than 30 years, where he ran the mountain sports operator Active Mountain. As a mountain guide for the New Zealand expedition operator Himalayan Experience, Tamura summited Mount Everest four times between 2002 and 2013 – with bottled oxygen –, the first time from the Tibetan north side, then each time from the Nepalese south side of the mountain. Shinji also stood on top of the eight-thousander Manaslu four times (though not on the True Summit) and scaled Cho Oyu in Tibet three times.

“I simply like working outside,” Shinji told the Matterhorn Blog in 2021. “Travelling is always exciting, there’s always something to discover.”

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