A Japanese climber who was attempting to become the only person to climb Mount Everest this year since the devastating earthquake in April has abandoned his final push to the summit due to deep snow.
Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, who had lost nine of his fingers to frostbite in earlier attempts, had left the final camp located at 7,600 metres to make his final push to the summit (8848 metres) at 8pm on Saturday.
“I tried hard taking all my energy, but it took too much time to move in deep snow. I realized if I kept going, I wouldn’t be able to come back alive, so I decided to descend,” Kuriki wrote on his Facebook page.
It was his fifth attempt at scaling the world’s tallest peak during autumn, which is considered an off-season for climbing. Most climbers prefer attempting Everest during the spring season in April-May.
Kuriki likes climbing alone without supplemental oxygen and had made four previous attempts on Everest each year between 2009 and 2012. In his last attempt, he suffered frostbite and had to be rescued -- he lost nine fingers then.
Climbing on Everest has remained affected for two consecutive spring seasons -- last year due to an avalanche which claimed 16 lives and this year due to the quake that claimed 19.
Each year thousands of mountaineers and trekkers come to Nepal to climb Everest and other Himalayan peaks or to trek. But their numbers have dwindled due to the quake which claimed 9,000 lives.
Nepal has been appealing to tourists, climbers and trekkers from all over the world to visit the country following the quake and was hoping Kuriki’s attempt will motivate others.
“Nepal is safe for tourists, but business is really down in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake,” tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa stated during a flag off ceremony for Kuriki -- a rare event for an individual climber -- in Kathmandu last month.