Top alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki dies in eighth attempt to conquer Everest

KYODO, STAFF REPORT

Famed Japanese alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki died Monday during his eighth attempt to summit Mount Everest, officials said.

Kuriki, 35, died in the morning near Camp II of the mountain at an altitude of 6,400 meters, Tourism Ministry official Gyanendra Shrestha said from Everest Base Camp.

Tika Ram Gurung of Bochi-Bochi Trek in Kathmandu, which organized Kuriki’s expedition, said Kuriki was descending from 7,400 meters when he slipped and died.

It is unlikely Kuriki made the summit. A team member wrote on Kuriki’s Line blog that the climber began to feel ill around the 7,400-meter mark and started to descend.

“We have carried down Kuriki’s body to base camp and are waiting for officials’ clearance to send the body by helicopter to Kathmandu,” he said.

Born in Hokkaido, Kuriki climbed the highest peaks of six continents, falling one short of entering the elite club of climbers who have scaled the highest summits on all seven continents.

He lost nine fingers to frostbite while attempting to climb Mount Everest in 2012.

In 2015, he tried again to scale the peak during the autumn climbing season, just months after a series of devastating quakes killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal and halted expeditions on the mountain.

Back then, he said his attempt was aimed at spreading the message that Nepal is safe for tourism.

Kuriki was among 346 climbers with permits to climb Mount Everest from the Nepal side this season.