Kenyan mountaineer dies during attempt to become first African to climb Mount Everest without extra oxygen

Francis Akhalbey May 24, 2024
Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui was found dead near the summit of Mount Everest -- Photos: j_muhia/Twitter

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, a Kenyan mountaineer who was attempting to become the first African to climb Mount Everest without extra oxygen, was found dead near the mountain’s summit after he initially went missing.

Per BBC, Kirui, 40, was with his 44-year-old Nepali guide Nawang Sherpa when they both went missing on Wednesday. A local tourism official told AFP that a search team was yet to locate the guide.

The Himalayan Times, a Nepalese newspaper, reported that Sherpa initially communicated with the base camp and said Kirui, who was a banker, had exhibited “abnormal behavior” and “refused to return and even consume bottled oxygen.”

Base camp officials informed the news outlet that communication between them and the pair was lost not too long after. Kipkemoi Limo, a close hiking friend of Kirui, told BBC that the 40-year-old fell to his death.

Limo also said Kirui’s family and friends are yet to determine the place of burial the deceased mountaineer had agreed on – whether Everest or back home in Kenya. Be it the latter, Limo said $190,000 would be needed to repatriate his body to the East African nation.

Prior to embarking on the challenge, Kirui in an email to BBC said he had prepared adequately for the task ahead. “The major/specific preparation was climbing Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world in 2023 September,” the deceased mountaineer wrote.

“However I’ve been climbing locally in Kenya, many stair climbs, gym workouts and running as specific preparation. Also for 10 years I’ve climbed, ran marathons and ultra marathons which adds to the general preparations.”

Kirui in an Instagram post also shared his optimism about reaching the summit of Mount Everest without needing extra oxygen. He informed the news outlet that contingency measures had, however, been put in place in case he experienced any setbacks. He said Sherpa would give him emergency oxygen support if need be, adding that arrangements had also been made for an emergency evacuation if there were any challenges.

Mount Everest is the world’s highest peak, and climbing it is regarded as an arduous task irrespective of any climber’s experience. Kirui is among four individuals whose bodies have been found on Everest this week, per the Himalayan Times. The three other deceased individuals include a Romanian climber, a British climber, and his Nepalese guide.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 24, 2024


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