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Friday 18 October 2019

British climber dies on Everest as death toll of climbers in Nepal reaches 18

Mountain climbers lining up to stand at the summit of Mount Everest. Photo: AFP PHOTO / PROJECT POSSIBLE
Mountain climbers lining up to stand at the summit of Mount Everest. Photo: AFP PHOTO / PROJECT POSSIBLE

Gopal Sharma

A British climber too weak to descend from Mount Everest died on Saturday, officials said, the eighth climber to die on the world’s tallest mountain and the 18th in Nepal's Himalayas during the current climbing season.

Hiking officials attributed most of the deaths to weakness, exhaustion and delays on the crowded route to the 8,850-metre (29,035 feet) summit.

Mountaineer Kevin Hynes, from Galway, who died on the descent from Mount Everest. Picture courtesy of RTÉ
Mountaineer Kevin Hynes, from Galway, who died on the descent from Mount Everest. Picture courtesy of RTÉ

Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died in the so-called "death zone" known for low levels of oxygen on descent from the summit, Mira Acharya, a tourism department official, said.

Two Irishmen, both experienced mountaineers, have died on the mountain in the past 10 days.

“[Mr Fisher] died because of weakness after a long ascent and difficult descent,” Murari Sharma of the Everest Parivar Treks company that arranged his logistics told Reuters. “He was descending with his sherpa guides from the summit when he suddenly fainted."

Fellow guides changed Fisher's oxygen bottle and offered him water, but could not save him, Sharma said.

Trinity College professor and climber Seamus Lawless
Trinity College professor and climber Seamus Lawless

Garrett Madison of the U.S. based Madison Mountaineering company that sponsors climbers to Mount Everest said many were not "well qualified or prepared climbers" and were without the support necessary to ascend and descend safely.

"If they were with a strong and experienced team they would have likely been fine, but with minimal support, once something goes wrong it's tough to get back on course," Madison told Reuters.

Kevin Hynes, from Galway, died on Everest while attempting to scale the world's highest peak from the Tibetan side early Friday morning, according to expedition organisers.

"It is with the greatest sadness that we have to confirm that Kevin Hynes from Galway, Ireland, one of our Everest team members, has passed away," 360 Expeditions said in a statement reported by the 'Himalayan Times'. "Kevin (56) was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse."

It is understood Mr Hynes lived and worked in the UK, and had previously scaled Everest in May of last year. He was a father of two.

Father-of-one Séamus Lawless (39) from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell at an altitude of 8,300 metres while descending from the world's highest peak on Thursday of last week.

Just hours after Mr Lawless reached the summit tragedy struck and the search has since been reclassified as a recovery mission.

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