Japanese climber first to attempt Everest ascent since Nepal quake
A Japanese climber will be the first to attempt to scale Mount Everest from the Nepal side this autumn following the devastating quake that killed thousands of people in the country in April this year.world Updated: Sep 27, 2015 08:17 IST
A Japanese climber will be the first to attempt to scale Mount Everest from the Nepal side this autumn following the devastating quake that killed thousands of people in the country in April this year.
The earthquake had also claimed 19 lives at the base camp of the tallest mountain in the world where hundreds of climbers, guides and porters were getting ready for the spring climbing season.
Tokyo's Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, will make a solo attempt on the 8,848-metre Everest summit along the normal Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, the Nepal government said on Sunday.
"We decided to make an attempt on Everest in autumn to show the world that Everest and other peaks in Nepal are safe for climbing even after the quake," Kuriki told reporters in Kathmandu.
Kuriki, who will be accompanied by Japanese photographer Masaru Kadotani till Camp II and four other support staff till Base Camp, will leave for the summit from Kathmandu on Tuesday and attempt to summit peak by mid-September.
Spring (April-May) is the most popular season to climb Everest and other major peaks in the Nepalese Himalayas and most climbers avoid autumn (September-October) because of extreme cold and shorter days.
This is Kuruki's fifth attempt to climb Everest. He had tried twice from the Tibet side and twice from the Nepalese side. In 2012, the Japanese climber had lost nine fingers to frostbite while attempting to climb Everest.
Climbing on Everest has remained affected for two consecutive spring seasons - last year it was due to an avalanche which claimed 16 lives and this year because of the quake.
"Nepal is safe for tourists, but business is really down in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake," tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa stated during a function to flag off the Japanese team on Sunday.
Nepal, which fears tourist arrivals could fall by 40% this year, is appealing to tourists, climbers and trekkers from all over the world to visit the country as tourism, one of the mainstays of the economy, was badly affected following the quake which claimed almost 9,000 lives.
Tourism accounts for 4% of Nepal's gross domestic product and employs more than 500,000 people.
Beside Kuriki, 13 foreign expeditions have been permitted to climb other mountains in Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 peaks above 8,000 metres (26,307 feet) from the sea level.