An American climber, Jonathan Sugarman, has tragically passed away during his attempt to climb Mount Everest on Monday, according to an expedition organizer.
Pasang Sherpa informed CNN that Sugarman died at Camp 2 after he started to feel unwell.
Sugarman was part of an expedition arranged by the International Mountain Guides (IMG) based in Washington state, with Beyul Adventure managing the local logistics.
His body remains at Camp 2 with the rest of the climbing team, according to Sherpa.
This sad news comes after Nepal issued permits to a record 463 climbers for this year’s spring season’s expeditions to Mount Everest by April 26.
Jonathan Sugarman Cause of Death
Following Sugarman’s death, the Embassy of the United States issued a statement expressing their deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
The embassy also confirmed that it is in contact with the family and local authorities.
However, out of respect for the family’s privacy, the embassy did not elaborate further on the matter.
The most popular time to climb Mount Everest is during spring, with most climbers aiming to ascend the peak in May.
There is a brief window of time, usually after mid-May, when temperatures are warmer, and the high-altitude winds known as the jet stream have moved away from the mountains.
Climbers, along with staff members and Sherpa guides, spend nearly two weeks hiking to the Everest base camp, which sits at an altitude of around 17,000 feet (almost 5,200 meters).
Concerns had been raised among mountaineers about dangerous overcrowding at the summit due to these warmer conditions and the record number of climbers this year.
A picture taken by climber Nirmal Purja in May 2019, showing a dense trail of people huddling on an exposed ridge to the mountain’s summit, went viral.
Purja reported at the time that there were roughly 320 people in a line to the top in an area known as the “death zone.”
To avoid overcrowding, Nepali authorities say they are setting up ropes wherever possible. “The geography we can’t change… but we are trying to manage by adding multiple ropes,” said Yubaraj Khatiwada, the director of Nepal’s Tourism Department, in an interview with CNN.
Unfortunately, three Sherpas had already died earlier this month after being buried by a block of snow on Everest, according to an official.
The trio were delivering materials to construct and clear a route to be used by climbers to get to the top of the mountain.
Despite the risks associated with climbing Everest, mountaineering is a significant source of revenue for Sherpas as Nepal is home to eight of the 10 highest mountains in the world.