US and Swiss climbers die on Everest in first climbing casualties of 2021

One climber died at the highest point while the other succumbed after being brought back from camp

Stuti Mishra@StutiNMishra
Thursday 13 May 2021 12:36
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<p>File photo: The spring season, to climb Mr Everest, which is popular because of favourable weather, began in March and would continue till the end of May</p>

File photo: The spring season, to climb Mr Everest, which is popular because of favourable weather, began in March and would continue till the end of May

Two climbers from the United States and Switzerland have died on Mount Everest, becoming the first fatalities of this year’s season, expedition organisers in Nepal say.

Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP the reason behind the deaths was exhaustion.

The Swiss climber, Abdul Waraich, 41, died after reaching the top and American climber, Puwei Liu, 55, perished at the highest camp.

“Abdul successfully reached the summit but began experiencing issues during his descent,” said Seven Summit’s Chhang Dawa Sherpa. “We sent two additional Sherpas with oxygen and food. Unfortunately, the Sherpas couldn’t save him.”

Mr Liu, 55, was helped back down with additional oxygen after he suffered snow blindness and exhaustion close to the summit, organisers said. He was able to reach Camp 4, but later died.

Snow blindness is a painful eye condition caused by overexposure to ultraviolet and Everest climbers are at the risk of it.

In recent seasons, Everest has seen a surge in the number of climbers, leading to overcrowding that has been blamed for multiple deaths.

Climbing in spring is popular because of the favourable weather. It began in March and is supposed to continue to the end of this month, when the weather deteriorates and climbing becomes more dangerous.

Despite travel restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities in Nepal allowed spring climbing to began including allowing foreigners to attempt to scale the highest Himalayan peaks.

However, to control the crowd this year, Nepal’s tourism ministry announced rules capping the number of people who could summit the mountain per window of suitable weather.

Last week more than 30 sick climbers were evacuated from base camp although only two have been confirmed as having had coronavirus.

Additional reporting by agencies

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