Last night a search was under way for Mr Herrod, 37, a photographer, who came originally from London but who now lives in South Africa. At least 10 people have died on the mountain in Nepal this month. Mr Herrod and two South African companions, Ian Woodall, 39, and Cathy O'Dowd, 27, reached the 29,030ft summit via the south-east ridge route with three Nepalese Sherpa guides on Saturday. In doing so they became the first people from the African continent to climb Everest and brought to 75 the number of people who have conquered the mountain this month.
Mr Herrod failed to return to the camp from which the expedition launched its final assault. Mr Woodall waited in vain for him there overnight while Ms O'Dowd went down to a lower camp with the guides.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are investigating reports of a missing Briton who was a member of the South African team climbing Everest."
The death toll amid ferocious storms on Everest in the past month has included three Indians, two Americans, two New Zealanders, one Austrian, one Japanese and one Taiwanese.
One of the victims was Rob Hall, a leading mountaineer from New Zealand, who managed to say farewell by radio to his pregnant wife before dying of frostbite near the summit. Mr Hall, 35, the only Westerner to have climbed Everest five times, and his countryman, Andrew Harris, 31, who also died, were leading an expedition of paying clients.
Mountaineering "tourists" now pay more than pounds 40,000 a head to climb Everest after the relaxation of numerical limits by the Nepalese Government.