KATHMANDU: A Greek climber died on Tuesday on Nepal's rugged Mount Dhaulagiri, expedition organisers said, in the first recorded fatality of this year's busy Himalayan spring climbing season. Antonios Sykaris' death came a day after a triumphant Instagram message announcing he had made it to the top of the world's seventh-highest peak.
The 59-year-old had fallen ill while descending, mountain guide Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP. "He died at an altitude of 7,400 metres. We are speaking with his family," Sherpa said. Sykaris was an experienced climber who had summited five other mountains higher than 8,000 metres, according to his website.
Dhaulagiri's 8,170-metre (26,800-foot) peak was first scaled in 1960 by a Swiss-Austrian team and has since been climbed by hundreds of people. The spring climbing season begins each April when temperatures warm and winds are typically calm.
It usually attracts hundreds of adventurers each year to Nepal, which is home to eight of the world's highest peaks. The country only reopened its peaks to mountaineers last year after the pandemic shut down the industry in 2020.
But with coronavirus cases receding, expedition operators in Nepal are hopeful of a busier climbing season this year. Nepal's government has already issued permits to 530 mountaineers for the season including 204 for Everest, the world's highest peak.