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May 122021
 
Kami at 2015 Lhotse Puja

Tragic news for the recent summit pushes. Two climbers using Seven Summits Treks have died both during their descent  according to SST co-founder Chhang Dawa Sherpa :

~ We express our sadness and deepest sympathy over the passing of Mr. Abdul and Mr. Liu – 12 May 2021.
* Abdul Waraich (Switzerland), passed away near to the South Summit, who was suffered from Exhaustion. Mr. Abdul successfully reached the summit but began experiencing issues during his descent. We sent two additional Sherpas with oxygen and foods, unfortunately Sherpas couldn’t save him.
* Puwei Liu (USA) took his last breath at Camp IV (7900m -S col), While descending from Hillary Step(the max height he gained) he had Snow Blindness and exhaustion, consequently it consumed more hour but with the help of extra oxygen supply and additional Sherpa support he safely reached the South Col, late Wednesday evening before he suddenly passed away.
Updated. Abdul Waheed Waraich had not climbed an 8000-meter peak but had climbed six of the seven summits, leaving only Everest which he sumitted before dying on the descent near the South Summit. Puwei Liu’s climbing CV is unclear but he was on China’s  Mustagata at 24,757-feet in 2016 and summited Manalsu at 26.759-feet with Summit Climb in 2017 with supplemental oxygen.
Both bodies remain on the mountain. Seven Summits Treks intends to retrieve both bodies as conditions allow. It usually takes almost five to ten strong Sherpas to bring a body down from those altitudes. The weather was reported as excellent on May 11 and 12. More details as available. My sincere condolences to their families.
There were no summits on Thursday, May 13. Teams didn’t climb due to high winds starting Wednesday night, May 12
Alan
Memories are Everything

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  10 Responses to “Everest 2021: 2 Deaths on Everest – Updated”

  1.  

    I love following your blog’s, thank you for the updates. I have following Everest for many, many years. What really bothers me is the age of tourism, and greed or self worth, I could go on a soap box. Now it’s blackout’s. What is next ? Helicopter landings on Everest ?. I have followed and befriended a woman who has done all 7 Summits.

  2.  

    There is rumor from BC that two more Indian climbers are dead, but its not confirmed by anyone jet.

  3.  

    Bad management is my guess as far as the amount of rope.

  4.  

    New summit wave on 21st? Tuesday 18 c2, wednesday 19 c3 thursday 20 c4 summit 21st seems possible. Temperature very warm with freezing level 5300 – 5700m. Problem could be wind on tuesday, but low in icefall maybe doable.

  5.  

    Sad indeed, but as Alan summarizes in his three points above, now bound to happen more than ever. Then this year there are the ethics of the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism issuing more permits than ever, in the midst of a pandemic. I would add that probably few of the guides – Sherpas or Westerners – are adequately trained in high altitude medicine as well. Its really not climbing – just high altitude tourism, the most egregious example recently being the horde that jumared to the summit of Annapurna after having more fixed line helicoptered to them because they ran out of line a few hundred meters below the summit. And why do experienced Sherpas run out of fixed line? Its not like they don’t know how much to bring ….

  6.  

    Not true in these cases, Alan. The expedition company that organized their climbs, Seven Summit Treks, said both men were experienced mountaineers who lost consciousness around Mount Everest’s “death zone,” an area above 8,000 meters (about 26,000 feet) named for its thin air and brutal weather.

    When the climbers died on Wednesday, the wind had picked up on Everest. Climbing tourists and most of the Nepalese guides who aid them turned away from the summit on Thursday as weather conditions grew more severe.

    Puwei Liu, 55, an experienced climber from California, died at the first camp below the peak after making an unsuccessful summit attempt on Wednesday, according to Chhang Dawa Sherpa, a Seven Summit Treks director.

    After standing on top of Everest on Wednesday, Abdul Waraich of Switzerland, 41, died at South Summit — close to the Mount Everest summit — while descending toward lower camps, Mr. Sherpa said.

    Just before his death, Mr. Waraich achieved the rarefied feat of reaching the summit of all seven of the world’s highest mountains, according to Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database, which chronicles mountaineers’ climbing records.

    Deaths are not uncommon while climbing, either from events like avalanches, snowstorms or earthquakes, or from high-altitude sickness.

    •  

      Thanks Fred. I was responding to deaths in general, not these two cases. Yes, climbers were turned away on Thursday, but these two died on Wednesday in excellent weather and well before the winds picked up. I take your point on the 7 Summits, but today, it’s more of a mountain holiday tour than a solid climbing experience like you would get on an 8000er. In both of these cases, it appears they had the average experience most commercial guides would take, with money. They are the exception for most clients.

  7.  

    Very tragic, we were receiving all the good news and then..

  8.  

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for your in-depth reporting, as always.

    Do you believe this type of unfortunate events happening every year on Everest could be prevented (more thorough medical checkup beforehand, a more authoritarian approach if one client is struggling too much on his way up,…) or are they strictly unavoidable (underlying health issues,, etc.)?

    Also, one must wonder: why most deaths on the 8000+ are related to SST amongst all? I know they are one of the cheapest company on the market but their death rate can’t be ignored. This is frightening.

    •  

      I think it’s sadly very simple. There are always deaths on the 8000ers, usually from some unknown health condition that is brought out by exertion or altitude. But in recent years, the deaths have increased due to 1) people lacking experience at 8000-meters to understand what is happening to them, 2) climbing with a “guide” who lacks the knowledge or ability or willingness to turn the person back when they start showing signs of trouble and 3) operators who offer climbs at very low -prices by taking shortcuts on staff skills, backup resources, oversight during critical moments and a focus on profits, not saftey.

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