Japanese Climber Nobukazu Kuriki Dies on Mount Everest

Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki has died while attempting to scale Mount Everest. He was 35.
His death has drawn widespread attention. Kuriki gained fame by posting his climbing adventures on the internet.

A Nepalese mountaineering association says Kuriki was found collapsed near a camp on the mountain at an altitude of 7,400 meters on May 21st. The Japanese embassy in Kathmandu says it was also informed of his death that morning.

On his official blog, Kuriki's office reported he would descend from a point at 7,400 meters since he was in bad shape. Later, Kuriki's office posted a comment on the blog saying that Kuriki had stopped responding to radio contacts during his descent. A filming crew later retraced his route and found him dead.

Kuriki scaled the highest peaks of 6 continents. His remaining goal was the world's highest, Mount Everest. This was his 8th attempt to reach the summit of Everest without oxygen since 2009.

His office noted Kuriki's earlier promise to return from Everest alive, and apologized for the sad result.

Numerous messages posted on Kuriki's Facebook account mourned his passing and celebrated his life. One says Kuriki showed both the pain and skill required to take on challenges over and over again. Another says, "thank you for giving me the courage to try."

Sharing failures and setbacks On his blog, Kuriki said he wants to enjoy life despite difficulties that may lie ahead.

Kuriki was known for posting videos of his climbs on the internet. He described his style of mountaineering as "sharing an adventure".

He said this doesn't simply mean showing his climbs online. He said he also wants to share the failures and setbacks he experiences along the way.

Lesson for children

In an NHK TV program in 2011, Kuriki tells children that it's very scary to climb 8,000-meter-tall mountains by himself, but he can thanks to his courage.

Kuriki also climbed a mountain on the show with children from his former elementary school.

At the end of the program, Kuriki told children that dreams can come true with help and encouragement from friends.

The school principal, who climbed a mountain with Kuriki and the children, says, "Children have learned from Kuriki that they can be successful even in something they have not done before." He added that he was very shocked by Kuriki's death.

Kuriki never gave up

Some experts say the challenge that Kuriki took on this time may have been beyond his abilities. The climbing route he traversed was a very difficult one that only a few have scaled successfully.

Kuriki had turned back halfway in each of his previous attempts to climb Mount Everest.

He lost most of his fingers due to frostbite in 2012. But he did not stop taking on challenges.

After the injury, he said, "Losing a dream and a goal matters more. It's common for climbers to return to the mountains after recovering from injuries, even if they lose their hands or feet."

Alpinist Ken Noguchi was good friends with Kuriki. He says he didn't think that Kuriki would successfully reach the summit of Mt. Everest after losing 9 of his fingers. Noguchi says he told Kuriki that it would be impossible to get to the summit unless he changed his style, and warned of possible accidents.

Noguchi says he wanted Kuriki to live longer and take on other challenges, since he had given many people dreams and hope.

Praise for Kuriki

Adventurer Yuichiro Miura, who successfully reached the peak of Mt. Everest at the age of 80, offered praise for Kuriki.

Miura says he frequently saw Kuriki training hard in the hypoxia room, and thought he was a great man. He says Kuriki was brave to continue without fear of failure, and that he feels very sorry about what happened.

Kuriki's father, Toshio, says his son never gave up once he took on a challenge.

Last month, before leaving for Mount Everest, Kuriki said, "I have had many experiences, including many difficulties. But I want to achieve my goal without regret, because we only get one life."