KATHMANDU: A Russian climber died just below the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak, in at least the third fatality of the spring climbing season in the Nepali Himalaya, officials said today.
Rustem Amirov was alone on the 8,516 meter (27,940 feet) mountain, which neighbors Mount Everest when he died of altitude related complications on Thursday.
He was climbing solo without any guides with him. The body has not been brought down to the base camp yet,” Gyanendra Shrestha, a government liaison officer at Everest base camp, told AFP. Climbers attempting Lhotse use the same base camp as those aiming for Everest’s summit.
They follow the same route up the mountain, scaling the sheer Lhotse Face – a 1,125-meter wall of ice – before the path to the neighboring summits divides.
Amirov, an experienced climber who had previously led an expedition on the 8,201 meter Cho Oyu peak – also in the Nepali Himalaya – only arrived at Everest base camp in early May, according to his Facebook page.
Most climbers arrive in April and spend at least a month acclimatizing to the harsh, low oxygen environment. Altitudes above 8,000 meters are known as the “death zone” among climbers.
The air contains less than a third of the oxygen at sea level and humans cannot survive at those heights for long.