It has been a deadly week on the world’s highest mountain as dozens of climbers tried to capitalize on good weather to make it to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal. At least five climbers have died this week alone, including an American man who succumbed on Wednesday to high altitude sickness.
Nepal-based Pioneer Adventures confirmed that American Donald Cash, 55, collapsed due to high altitude sickness after reaching the summit and that due to the large number of climbers on the route, they had to wait two hours with to bring him down the mountain.
Three supporting sherpas tried to revive him, and he was able to communicate but could not stand or walk properly. The sherpas then tried to drag him to a lower point, but at about 28,839 feet — just hundreds of feet from the peak, he collapsed again and could not be revived.
Cash died just after completing his long-time goal of climbing the “seven summits” — the highest mountains on the seven continents.
An Indian woman also died while descending from the peak of Everest on Wednesday.
“She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend,” Thupden Sherpa, of tour organizer Arun Treks told the Mumbai Mirror. “She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.”
On Friday, Nepalese officials told the Reuters news agency that three more Indian climbers, including two women, had died on Thursday due to exhaustion and related illnesses.
Officials said more than 120 people tried to make the summit on Thursday while the weather was good, but that the rush caused delays on the climbing routes that proved deadly.