Japanese climber Kono perishes on Nepal peak

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Renowned climber Chizuko Kono, 67, a Spanish man and their Nepalese guide have died on Nepal’s rugged Dhaulagiri peak, expedition organizers said Tuesday.

Kono, Spain’s Juanjo Garra, 50, and Nepalese guide Dawa Sherpa disappeared Friday as they attempted to climb the world’s seventh-highest mountain, the organizers said.

Garra slipped and broke his ankle on the slope, they said, but it was not immediately clear what happened to Kono and her guide.

The trio, part of a group of 21 climbers, were confirmed dead by expedition organizers Tuesday.

“On Friday afternoon, Mr. Garra slipped and broke his ankle and couldn’t walk any more,” said Tika Gurung, the expedition organizer, who also said that because it was late in the day, an immediate rescue was not possible.

“His guide, Keshab Gurung, stayed with him overnight and then the helicopters tried to rescue him the next day, but the altitude was too high,” he said.

Kono perished at an altitude of approximately 7,700 meters along with her guide, Dawa Sherpa.

Gurung, who was guiding Spain’s Garra on his quest to summit the 14 highest mountains in the world, is currently being treated for injuries in a Katmandu hospital. The remaining climbers in the group were confirmed safe.

The avalanche-prone 8,167- meter Dhaulagiri has a high death rate for climbers, according to Himalayan Database, a statistical hub run by Katmandu-based mountaineering expert Elizabeth Hawley.