First Death of Year Strikes Everest

Son of legendary climber dies at base camp
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2012 12:00 PM CDT
The last light of the day sets on Mount Everest as it rises behind Mount Nuptse as seen from Tengboche, in the Himalaya's Khumbu region, Nepal, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

(Newser) – An experienced Sherpa guide who has scaled Mount Everest at least 10 times has died at the mountain's base camp, becoming the first fatality in this year's spring climbing season. Karsang Namgyal is the son of Ang Rita, a legendary climber who was the first to scale Everest 10 times before health problems forced him to retire. Namgyal himself was a seasoned mountain guide who also climbed several other high peaks in Nepal.

Namgyal, 40, died yesterday from altitude sickness, said the expedition organizer; he did not appear to be sick or have any physical problems before yesterday, when he complained of uneasiness and later died. Hundreds of climbers and their guides are currently camped at Everest's base camp, located at 17,380 feet, preparing to scale the world's highest mountain. Climbers generally try to scale Everest in May, when weather conditions have usually improved just enough to enable them to attempt to reach the 29,035-foot peak. Altitude sickness is a leading cause of death for climbers and trekkers on the high Himalayan peaks.

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