Everest Climber Reaches Peak, Goes Blind, Dies

Peter Kinloch, 28, left near summit
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2010 2:10 PM CDT
In this May 2005 file picture, members of the Chinese Mount Everest expedition team climb up to measure the height of the mountain.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Suolang Luobu)

(Newser) – Peter Kinloch, a seemingly healthy 28-year-old British policeman, was “elated, cheery and bubbly” when he reached the top of Mount Everest, according to one member of his expedition team. But as he began his descent, he started to stumble and then mysteriously went blind, the Daily Mail reports. He seemed unfazed, and said it was a temporary condition that had afflicted him before.

But a few hours later, when the hikers reached Mushroom Rock, Kinloch was unable to continue. Sherpas spent the next eight hours trying to get him to move, to no avail. Eventually, they left him there to die. Mushroom Rock is within Everest's “death zone”—the area, above 26,000 feet, which the human body can't adapt to. Kinloch's parents and fiance were devastated, but his father said, “We can take comfort in that he achieved one of his ambitions.”

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