Saturday 24 June 2017

One-fingered climber forced to abandon latest Everest attempt

Nobukazu Kuriki waves during his latest attempt to climb Everest
Nobukazu Kuriki waves during his latest attempt to climb Everest

David Kearns

A Japanese climber who previously lost nine fingers to frostbite has failed in his latest attempt to scale Mount Everest.

Nobukazu Kuriki (33) had inspired the mountaineering world with his effort to climb the world’s highest peak following the loss of nine fingers during a previous climb in 2012.

He had told followers watching him live blog his attempt on Facebook that he would be making his final push from the topmost camp, at 29,000 feet on Saturday night.

But on Sunday morning he put out a statement saying he had decided to descend.

Mr Kuriki said he feared if he continued he would die Credit: Reuters
Mr Kuriki said he feared if he continued he would die Credit: Reuters
Nobukazu Kuriki shortly after he lost nine fingers to frostbite Credit: Facebook

"I tried hard taking all my energy, but it took too much time to move in deep deep snow," Mr Kuriki wrote on his Facebook page.

"I realised if I kept going, I wouldn't be able to come back alive.”

The 33-year-old was the first person to attempt the climb since Nepal's devastating earthquake in April.

It was the fifth time he had tried to reach the summit in the past six years.

He lost his fingers while sheltering in a snow-hole just short of the summit in 2012.

Mr Kuriki wrote that he decided to abandon his attempt after leaving "the final camp" on Saturday evening.

Nobukazu Kuriki during his latest Everest attempt Credit: Facebook
Nobukazu Kuriki during his latest Everest attempt Credit: Facebook

"Thank you so much for all your support," he said.

“I appreciate you all from bottom of my heart. I'm so happy to be able to challenge again to Mount Everest even after I lost 9 fingers by frostbite.”   

The one-fingered Japanese climber was following the same route used by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they became the first people to reach the summit in 1953.

Climbing late in the year is seen as much more dangerous, but Mr Kuriki had said that it was a “pure” form of climbing, a challenge pursued in solitude.

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