KATMANDU – Rescuers have recovered the body of a veteran Japanese climber who slipped and fell to his death while climbing Mount Manaslu in Nepal, a trek organizer said Sunday.
Yoshimasa Sasaki, 59, from Kanagawa Prefecture, slipped on ice Friday while climbing at 7,300 meters on the 8,163-meter mountain, the world’s eighth-highest. He fell 25 meters.
His death marked the first fatality of Nepal’s autumn climbing season.
Sasaki’s body was taken to Camp IV, said Pasang Nurbu Sherpa, director of Himalayan Trailblazer Trekking and Expedition Pvt. Ltd., which helped organize the expedition. Sasaki’s climbing partner, a Japanese individual aged 64, is said to be safe and descending the mountain, after calling off the attempt to reach the summit.
“Efforts will be made today to carry the body to Camp III, from which, weather permitting, a helicopter will be used to bring the body to Katmandu,” he said.
Sasaki was part of the 10-member HTB Mountain Professionals Manaslu Expedition 2014, comprising two Japanese, three Norwegians, three Chinese, an American and an Irish climber.
Mount Manaslu, in the Gorkha District of west-central Nepal, was first conquered in 1956 by Toshio Imanishi from Japan and Gyaltsen Norbu Sherpa from Nepal, and remains popular among Japanese climbers.
“Climbing this mountain is risky because of very unpredictable weather pattern and frequent avalanches,” Pasang Nurbu Sherpa said.
Sasaki’s Facebook account shows he had been a climbing guide at the Tokyo-based Alpine Guides Society of Japan since 1993.
It shows he had extensive experience, having climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro for the 55th time this year, in addition to recent climbs in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Pyrenees.