French climber dies on Nepal's Mt. Makalu

By AFP   May 14, 2024 | 01:16 am PT
French climber dies on Nepal's Mt. Makalu
A group of climbers on Mt. Everest, Nepal in 2019. Photo by AP
A French climber died on Mount Makalu, the world's fifth-highest peak, expedition organizers said Tuesday, the second fatality of this year's spring climbing season and both on the same mountain.

Johnny Saliba, 60, died at an altitude of 8,120 meters (26,640 feet) during his summit push on Sunday.

"He was heading to the summit but his guide brought him down after he suffered symptoms of altitude sickness. And then he passed away," said Bodha Raj Bhandari, expedition organizer at Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition.

Bhandari added that Saliba's family had been informed and efforts were underway to retrieve his body.

He was part of a French team on the 8,485-metre-tall (27,838-feet) mountain and the other members safely returned to the base camp.

Last week, a 53-year-old Nepali guide died on Makalu as he was descending after reaching the summit.

Nepal has this year issued 59 permits to foreign climbers for Makalu - costing $1,800 each, compared to $11,000 for Everest - and dozens have reached the top after a rope-fixing team summited the peak last month.

Hundreds of climbers have flocked to the Himalayan country - home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks -- for summits in the spring climbing season when temperatures are warm and winds are typically calm.

Nepal has issued more than 900 permits for its mountains this year, including 414 for Everest, earning over $5 million in royalties.

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