Mount Everest reopens: Japanese, who lost nine fingers in earlier attempts, will be the first to climb

The 33-year-old climber had lost nine fingers during his first four attempts at scaling the world’s tallest mountain, but that won’t stop him from attempting the climb a fifth time tomorrow

Kathmandu: A Japanese climber, who lost nine of his fingers to four earlier attempts at scaling Mt Everest will now make his fifth attempt this month. 33-year-old Nobokazu Kuriki will be the first to attempt the climb after the peak was closed due to Nepal’s deadly April earthquake, which had had triggered an avalanche on the mountain killing 18 climbers.

Japanese climber Nobokazu Kuriki (left) accepts his permit to climb Everest in the autumn season from Nepal’s tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa. He will be the first to attempt the climb since the mountain was closed after the April 25 quake. Pic/AFP
Japanese climber Nobokazu Kuriki (left) accepts his permit to climb Everest in the autumn season from Nepal’s tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa. He will be the first to attempt the climb since the mountain was closed after the April 25 quake. Pic/AFP

A Japanese photographer named Masaru Kadotani will accompany Kuriki till Camps 2 and 4, while other support staff will accompany him till the Base Camp. He will make a solo attempt on the 8,850-metre Everest summit along the normal Southeast Ridge route that was pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Nepal tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa confirmed, “We are very proud to give permission to the Japanese team of two who will be climbing Everest after the quake and promoting the message that it is open for expedition.”

Fifth time lucky?
This is Kuruki’s fifth attempt to climb the world’s highest peak. He had earlier tried to scale the Everest twice from Tibet and twice from Nepal.

“I lost nine of my fingers in 2012, while attempting to climb Everest but I did not lose hope. I hope I am successful this time,” he said, adding that he wanted to help revive mountain tourism in Nepal. Kuruki aims to reach the summit in mid-September.

However, he might face extreme weather — intense cold and shorter days make the autumn season that starts next month unpopular amongst climbers. Mountaineering is a major revenue-earner for Nepal, which has eight of the world’s 14 peaks that measure over 8,000 metres.

The devastating earthquake that struck the Himalayan nation on April 25 killed more than 8,800 people, including scores of climbers and foreign trekkers.

Apart from causing the Everest avalanche, it destroyed the popular Langtang trekking route, raising fears for the immediate future of the tourism industry, which provides employment to thousands of people across the nation.

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