Autumn's first death on Mt Manaslu, French climber rescued

KATHMANDU: Mt Manaslu (8,163 m), also known as the Killer Mountain, saw the first death of a climbing member this season after an Austrian climber belonging to Seven Summit Autumn Expedition - 2015 perished near Camp IV late on Thursday night.

According to Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation, the expedition organiser confirmed on Friday afternoon that Zoltan Benedek breathed his last while descending from Camp IV.

Benedek successfully summitted the world's eighth highest peak on Wednesday, Shrestha said.

Born in Odorhei of  Austria in 1964, Benedek was a part of a 14-member-team led by Daniel Lee Mazur, according to officials at the Seven Summit Treks.

Efforts are underway to bring his body back to Kathmandu.

Immediately after their successful summit, Mazur wrote on Facebook,  "Now we are on top of summit: Marin, Jean-Luc, Dan, Jangbu, NaTenji. We can see Everest. Hope we will get down ok. Tricky. Be careful!"

"Benedek's partner Jean-Luc from France had to be rescued from Camp IV to Camp III on Friday morning and was flown by helicopter from 6,800 m. Both climbers were climbing without any support above base camp," another team leader Arnold Coster told THT Online from Camp II.

At least 73 climbers including 44 foreigners successfully summitted the mountain in the last two days, Shrestha said, adding that DoT issued permits to 106 climbers representing different 11 expedition teams for Mt Makalu in the autumn season.

According to the expedition organisers, 38 foreigners along with 20 Sherpas reached the top of Mt Manaslu on Thursday while 15 climbers including six foreigners stood atop the mountain on Wednesday.

At least 38 climbers have already decided to abandon their summit attempts citing bad climbing conditions followed by a week-long deteriorating weather pattern in the mountain region.

Boyan Petrov has become the first Bulgarian to ascend Mt Manaslu, according to Pemba Sherpa at Seven Summit Treks.

Meanwhile, the sole Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki (33), on Friday headed to Camp II for a second attempt to climb to Mt Everest, according to Tikaram Gurung, organiser of this season's only Everest expedition.

Kuriki who abandoned his first attempt early this week finding it very tough to move up to the deep snow above Camp IV, now plans to summit the world's highest peak by October 7.