Another American has died on Mount Everest, marking the ninth fatality on the Nepal side of the mountain this climbing season.
It’s unclear what caused Chris Kulish’s death at South Col Monday after he descended from the summit, an official with Nepal’s tourism department, Mira Acharya, told the Reuters news agency.
Kulish’s family issued a statement expressing their heartbreak upon learning of the 62-year-old’s death. They noted that, after reaching Everest’s summit, Kulish “became a member of the ‘7 Summit Club’ having scaled the highest peak on each continent.
“An attorney in his ‘day job,’ he was an inveterate climber of peaks in Colorado, the West and the world over. He passed away doing what he loved, after returning to the next camp below the peak. He leaves his mother, Betty (‘Timmie’) Kulish, a younger sister, Claudia and a younger brother, Mark,” the family said.
Murari Sharma, Managing Director of Summit Parivar, the agency that organized the American’s climbing trip, told CBS News’ Arshad Zargar on Tuesday that Kulish’s body had still not been recovered from the mountain.
“On his way back, about 100 meters (yards) below the summit, Chris collapsed,” Sharma said. “Our Sherpa offered him water, gave oxygen, but he could not be revived.”
Sharma said Kulish died at that spot and the Sherpa guides attempted to bring his body back down the mountain but were unable to. It was not clear on Tuesday when a team would be able to reach the high point on the mountain to recover Kulish’s body.
The American’s death comes days afteron the Nepal side. British mountaineer Robin Fisher, who’d previously warned of overcrowding on the world’s highest peak, died during his descent Saturday.
Also last week, American, 55, died after reaching the summit. The government of Nepal issued a record number of climbing permits this season — 381 people were given permission to ascend the world’s highest peak, which can create a logjam to reach the summit.
Two climbers have also died on the Tibet side of the mountain this season, which ends this month.