Autumn season draws blank on Mt Everest as Japanese climber abandons second summit push

KATHMANDU: Japanese climber – Nobukazu Kuriki – who reached the south summit point near the top of the world’s highest peak on Thursday gave up his second attempt to climb Mt Everest in the autumn season.

Tikaram Gurung, Managing Director at Bochi Bochi Treks, which is handling the season’s only Everest expedition, said that Kuriki (33), abandoned his second summit push immediately after he reached the final point to make a summit push above South Col.

“I have done my best, but I decided to descend,” Kuriki wrote on his Facebook. According to him, he was at around 8,150 m at 3:30 am before abandoning the final summit push. “After I left the final camp (7,600 m) at 7:15pm on Wednesday for summit push, I climbed up to 8,150 m, but it was too windy and took much time to go in deep snow,” Kuriki said, adding that he decided to descend without summiting the mountain.

“In the wind getting stronger, I realized even if I kept going to the summit, I wouldn’t be able to go back to the final camp alive in the strong wind,” Kuriki further shared. According to him, he started to descend at 3:35am. Climbing members said that Kuriki arrived at Camp III in the afternoon and will descend to base camp by Thursday evening.

Kuriki had abandoned first attempt after finding it very tough to move up to the deep snow above Camp IV on September 27 as he headed to the top of the world’s highest mountain without support staff and supplemental oxygen.

Kuriki who was supported by a photographer – Masaru Kadotani and a few Sherpas up to Camp II decided to head to the top of the peak without support staff and supplemental oxygen.

Kuriki who gave up his fifth attempt after four unsuccessful autumn climbing attempts in the previous years, also lost his nine fingers to frostbite in 2012 before abandoning final summit push.

“We have also started packing up our stuff,” leading Icefall doctor Ang Kami Sherpa told THT from base camp. Icefall doctors will return from base camp on Saturday.

The government has provided US$ 25,000 to Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee to employ its icefall doctors to fix ropes and ladders in the climbing route in the autumn season to facilitate sole Japanise Everest aspirant. Icefall doctors also placed 20 ladders in the central section of the icefall route which was struck by multiple avalanches in the last two seasons, according to Sherpa who was with his four colleagues at base camp.

Mt Everest has recorded only three successful autumn summits in the last fifteen years. American climber Eric Larsen and his team made it to the top of the world highest peak in autumn of 2010 while American climber Dave Hahn-led team and Slovenian extreme skier Davo Karnicar summitted Mt Everest in 2006 and 2000 respectively.

According to Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at the Department of Tourism (DoT) under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, DoT has already issued climbing permits to 92 teams as over 550 climbers attempt to climb different peaks in the autumn season.