Japanese One-Fingered Climber Abandons Mount Everest Attempt

Mount Everest, Nepal
Mount Everest, Nepal. Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki was attempting to be the first climber to reach the summit since the avalanche that killed 18 people on the mountain in April. Kuriki lost nine of his fingers to frostbite during a previous attempt to reach the summit in 2012. Photo by Praphat Rattanayanon/Shutterstock

KATHMANDU, Nepal, Sept. 27 (UPI) — A Japanese climber who previously lost nine of his fingers decided to end his attempt to climb Mount Everest on Sunday, citing too much snow.

Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, of Hokkaido, was making his fifth attempt to reach the world’s highest summit. On Sunday, as in each previous attempt, Kuriki was stopped at the South Col, just below the so-called “death zone” where climbers typically make their last push to the summit in air so thin and conditions so harsh, many climbers have been killed.

“I tried hard taking all my energy, but it took too much time to move in deep, deep snow,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I realized if I kept going, I wouldn’t be able to come back alive, so I decided to descend.”

Kuriki lost nine fingers to frostbite during a previous attempt to climb Everest in 2012. This year he was the first climber trying to reach the summit since the earthquake in Nepal in April. The quake killed 8,900 people in the country and set off an avalanche at the mountain’s base camp that killed another 18 people and abruptly ended the spring climbing season.


Kuriki was attempting to summit alone and without oxygen. Experts say climbing without oxygen is extremely dangerous and extremely difficult. Also, trying to climb Everest in the fall is more dangerous than during the spring climbing season because of higher winds and lower temperatures. There have been only three successful autumn summits on Everest in the last 15 years.

Everest, at 29,029 feet is the world’s highest peak. New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to successfully climb the mountain 62 years ago on May 29, 1953.


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