Indian climber dies after Everest bid, eighth death this season

Everest Base Camp. Eight people have died on the peak this year (Robert KAY)
Everest Base Camp. Eight people have died on the peak this year (Robert KAY)

An Indian climber rescued from Everest has died in hospital, a Nepali tourism official said Tuesday, taking the number of fatalities this season on the world's highest mountain to eight.

Banshi Lal, 46, was plucked from the mountain last week and taken to a hospital in Nepal's capital Kathmandu.

"He died at the hospital yesterday," Rakesh Gurung of the tourism department told AFP.

Three people -- a British climber and two Nepali guides -- among the eight are listed as missing but presumed dead.

The latest fatality comes as the Everest mountaineering season nears its end, with the death toll relatively low compared to other years.

Last year was the deadliest season on the mountain with 18 fatalities.

Three more died climbing other Nepali peaks including a Romanian aiming for Lhotse, which neighbours Everest, while a French and a Nepali climber died on Makalu, the world's fifth-highest mountain.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds typically calm.

All the Everest deaths occurred in areas above 8,000 metres (26,200 feet), known as the "death zone", where thin air and low oxygen levels heighten the risk of altitude sickness.

Multiple records have also been broken this year, including by Nepali climber Phunjo Lamam, who reached Everest's summit in 14 hours and 31 minutes, the world's fastest ascent of the mountain by a woman.

Climbers usually take days to reach the top of the 8,849-metre mountain, spending nights at its different camps to rest and acclimatise.

And 54-year-old Kami Rita Sherpa, a Nepali climber known as "Everest Man", reached the peak of the world's highest mountain for a record 30th time, three decades after his first summit.

Nepal has issued more than 900 permits for its mountains this year, including 419 for Everest, earning more than $5 million in royalties.

More than 600 climbers and their guides have already reached the summit of Everest after a rope-fixing team reached the peak last month.

China also reopened the Tibetan route to foreigners this year for the first time since closing it in 2020 because of the pandemic.

pm/pjm/ser