2 Climbers From America and Switzerland Died of Exhaustion on Wednesday on Mount Everest

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Mount Everest
Prayer flags in the foreground of Mount Everest left for fallen mountaineers. Credit: Kalle Kortelainen | Unsplash

Two climbers from the United States and Switzerland died Wednesday on Mount Everest, becoming the first fatalities of this year’s climbing season, expedition organizers in Nepal report.


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A post shared by Chhang Dawa Sherpa 🇳🇵 (@14dawa)

Swiss climber Abdul Waraich, 41, died after reaching the 29,032-foot summit, and American climber Puwei Liu, 55, perished at the highest camp on the mountain at South Col. Both died of exhaustion.

“Abdul successfully reached the summit but began experiencing issues during his descent. We sent two additional Sherpas with oxygen and food. Unfortunately, the Sherpas couldn’t save him.”

– Seven Summit’s Chhang Dawa Sherpa

Liu, 55, was helped back down with additional oxygen after he suffered snow blindness and exhaustion close to the summit, having reached the Hillary Step. He made it back to Camp 4 at 25,918-feet but suddenly passed away.

An average of five climbers dies every year trying to summit the world’s highest mountain. In 2019, eleven people died climbing the mountain, with four of those attributed to overcrowding. At least 311 people have died trying to climb the mountain.

More than 6,000 climbers have scaled Everest since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

China and Nepal suspended Mount Everest’s climbing season last year amid the global pandemic. This year Nepal has granted a record 408 climbing permits. Permits cost $11,000 each, and climbers must show a negative COVID-19 test before going to the mountain. China has said it will allow “a few dozen,” who will be tested and must socially distance on the way up.

Climbers on The Summit Ridge of Everest
The photo of overcrowding at the Everest summit ridge that went viral in 2019. Image courtesy of Nirmal Purja.

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