By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A Swiss and an American climber have died on Mount Everest, hiking company officials said on Thursday, the first fatalities on the world’s highest peak this season.
Abdul Waraich, 41, of Switzerland and American Puwei Liu, 55, died of exhaustion while descending the slopes of the 8,848.86 metre (29,031.69-foot) mountain on Wednesday, said Thaneshwar Guragai, a manager of the Seven Summit Treks company that provided support to the climbers.
“Additional sherpas were sent with supplies and oxygen but unfortunately they could not save them,” he told Reuters.
Waraich, who was on his way down after reaching the summit, died near the south summit, according to Chhang Dawa Sherpa, another official of the company.
Liu could not reach the summit of Everest and died on descent near a 7,900 metre (25,918 feet) camp at the South Col after suffering snow blindness and exhaustion, Sherpa said in his Instagram post.
More details were not immediately available. Everest has been scaled by more than 6,000 climbers since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. At least 311 people have died on its slopes.
Nepal has issued a record 408 permits to climb Everest in the April-May climbing season after last year’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Robert Birsel)