Climber who lost 9 fingers nears Everest summit

Nobukazu Kuriki
Nobukazu Kuriki

Nobukazu Kuriki

A Japanese mountaineer is nearing his way to the summit of the deadly Mount Everest despite losing his nine fingers from an expedition on the same mountain last April.

According to Starmine News, Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, is the first man to attempt a summit after the devastating tragedy in the Khumbu Icefall that killed 24 climbers and injured at least 61 others. This will be his fifth time to attempt to reach the top of the world’s highest peak in the last six years. Ang Tsering, president of the Nepalese Mountaineering Association, said it is a common practice for mountaineers to head for the summit late at night when the wind is stable and a snow storm is less possible to occur.

Kuriki arrived in Nepal more than a month ago to start his acclimatization journey. Acclimatising is crucial process to ensure that a person’s body is fully conditioned to endure the hard work of climbing an 8,484-meter peak while being deprived of oxygen supply. An environment like that of Mount Everest is not ideal in sustaining life for every hour a person stays beyond the so-called “Death Zone,” the body is slowly dying.

Aside from frostbites, climbers are prone to life-threatening conditions such as cerebral and pulmonary edema as well as disorientation.

In an interview shortly before his arrival in Nepal, Kuriki said he is nervous and afraid of the circumstances the mountain will present. In 2012, he lost all of his fingers after surviving two days in an ice hole with temperatures lower than -20 degrees Centigrade.

Thousands of climbers try their luck and fate in climbing Mount Everest not only because it is the world’s highest mountain but also because of the risk that comes with it.

The April 25 tragedy is one of the most fatal in the history of the mountain that triggered its temporary closure.

Prior to Kuriki’s ascent, a team of sherpas and climbers began fixing the rope route up the Khumbu Icefall including a survey after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the region in April.

The Khumbu Icefall, a section of the mountain consisting of towering icicles, is one of the most dangerous parts of the climb. Series of metal ladders connect large seracs, which move constantly throughout the day.


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