Story at a glance

  • U.S. national Puwei Liu, 55, died after experiencing snow blindness and exhaustion.
  • He was able to get as far as the Hillary Step, which is located between the camp at South Col and the summit, before he was forced to turn back.
  • Meanwhile, Swiss climber Abdul Waraich, 41, also died after reaching the summit.

An American man attempting to climb Mount Everest is among the first two casualties of the climbing season on the world’s tallest mountain. 

The Associated Press reports U.S. national Puwei Liu, 55, died at the highest camp on the mountain at South Col on Wednesday. 


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The outlet reports he was able to get as far as the Hillary Step, which is located between the camp at South Col and the summit, before he was forced to turn back due to snow blindness and exhaustion. 

He was provided oxygen with the help of team members and was brought back to the camp at South Col where he eventually died Wednesday evening. 

Meanwhile, Swiss climber Abdul Waraich, 41, managed to get to the top of Everest before having problems on his way back down. 

“Abdul successfully reached the summit but began experiencing issues during his descent,” Chhang Dawa, expedition organizer with Seven Summit Treks in Nepal, told The Associated Press.

“We sent additional Sherpas with oxygen and food. Unfortunately, the Sherpas couldn’t save him,” he said. 

Bad weather has forced other climbers to descend to lower altitudes for now and it’s unclear when the bodies of the dead climbers will be brought down from the mountain. 

Last year’s climbing season was canceled by both Nepal and China, which share a border with the 29,000-foot peak. While China has limited its side of the mountain to Chinese climbers, Nepal has opened up the summit to foreign climbers and has issued 408 permits. 


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Published on May 13, 2021