‘Not possible’ to search for British climber feared dead after going missing on Everest

Officials in Nepal have dashed hopes for an immediate search to find a British climber who went missing on Everest six days ago.

Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and his local guide Pas Tenji, 23, were reported missing Tuesday on the world’s highest peak which is on the border between China and Nepal. Mr Paterson’s family has launched a fundraising appeal to mount a search effort to find him.

But on Sunday Nepali official said it was not possible to search for the pair currently because both fell on their way down from “a very high altitude” on the Chinese side of the mountain which will require further coordination to form a search party.

“It is not possible to search for the missing climbers right now because the British (mountaineer) and his Sherpa fell from the bottom of Hillary step which is at about 8,800 meters (26,964 feet) and toward the Kangshung Face in Tibet,” said Khim Lal Gautam, an official at Everest’s base camp who monitors climbers.

The Kangshung Face is one of the Tibeatean eastern-facing sides of the mountain, controlled by China.

Everest has seen four climbers die this season already
Everest has seen four climbers die this season already (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“It is going to be difficult to search for them because they have fallen on the Tibet side which needs coordination,” Gautam said.

Mr Paterson was part of a 15-member fee-paying team with mountaineering company 8K Expeditions, which is now frantically searching for other missing climbers in temperatures that can fall to as low as -36C.

Describing him as a “beloved son, brother, partner, friend and a proud joint owner of Wakefield Crossfit” who is “known for his adventurous spirit, his kindness, and his unwavering dedication to helping others”, Mr Paterson’s partner Becks Woodhead is urgently seeking help to crowdfund a rescue effort.

“Time is of the essence in a situation like this, and we are mobilising every resource we can to locate Dan. We are hoping to launch a search mission with the assistance of a rescue team specialising in search operations in extreme environments,” Ms Woodhead said earlier this week.

This climbing season, which started in March and is expected to end in a few days, saw four climbers — two Mongolians, one Nepali and one Kenyan — die. The Kenyan climber’s guide, Nawang Sherpa, has been missing since May 22. Last year, 18 climbers died while attempting to scale the treacherous 29,032-foot (8,849-meter-) mountain, according to Nepal’s mountaineering department.

Hundreds of climbers have successfully scaled Everest this month during the short window of good weather. Climbers also reported the usual number of mountaineers en route to the peak’s top this week.

Climbing season began in March, with hundreds of people making the attempt
Climbing season began in March, with hundreds of people making the attempt (AFP via Getty Images)

“The traffic of climbers heading to the summit was similar to that of the past two or three years,” Tendi Sherpa, who has scaled the peak 17 times, out of which twice was this month, told The Associated Press.

Tendi said when he and his team reached the summit on May 21, despite seeing “around 200 climbers … they were all organized and using their experiences and expertise” to navigate the crowd.

Among Tendi’s climbing team was Phunjo Jhangmu Lama who scaled the peak in 14 hours and 31 minutes, regaining the title of the fastest female climber of Mount Everest.

Lama also said the climbers’ traffic was normal and that most of her climb from the base camp to the summit went smoothly without any long halts.

“Traffic is nothing new,” Lama said. “It has been going on for years.”

Recently, some have complained that the mountain is becoming too crowded with climbers and dirty because of littering.

In March, Kanchha Sherpa, 91, the only surviving member of the mountaineering expedition that first conquered Everest, echoed the sentiment, saying that the number of climbing permits should be reduced.

During the 2023 spring climbing season, 667 climbers scaled the peak, bringing along thousands of support staff to the base camp, and raising concerns over the generation of trash and waste.

Those who would like to donate to help fund the search for Mr Paterson can do so here.


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