Five S. Korean Mountain Climbers and four Nepali guides have been found dead trying to climb Nepal’s Mount Gurja. A violent snowstorm blew them off a cliff to their death reports Yahoo News. “A mountain expedition of five South Korean nationals and four foreigners were swept off by strong winds at the base camp during their climb to Mount Gurja. They fell off a cliff and died,” the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement. Only 30 people have been able to reach the apex of Mount Gurja compared to 8000 people who reached the peak of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. It is considered one of the most deadly mountains to climb and the last time anyone reached its summit was in 1996.
The mountain climbing team was being led by famed climber Kim Chang Ho. Kim held the record for climbing the world’s tallest mountains in record time without the aid of supplemental oxygen. He was able to scale all 14, including Mount Everest in only 7 years and 10 months. “Endless glaciers under my feet make my heard throb. I feel like I should discover every corner of the Himalayas,” Kim told Korea.net. “I feel truly alive when I find new mountains and glaciers.” Kim planned to find a new route to the peak of the 24000 foot Mount Gurja and name it “Korean Way: One Korea – Unification of North and South Korea,” the Korea Alpine Federation said.
Kim and his team had been climbing the Mountain since early October. They were waiting for a pocket of good weather to reach the summit. However, a freak storm hit the climbers on Friday, creating the deadliest incident to hit Nepal’s mountains since 2015 when 18 people were killed on Mt. Everest by an avalanche created by an earthquake.
Helicopter pilot, Siddartha Gurung, was one of the first rescuers to reach the site after the storm. He stated he saw bodies scattered everywhere and that the tents were “blown apart.” The bodies have not been recovered yet due to the storm. An attempt will be made on Sunday if the storms die down.
The other climbers were S. Koreans Yoo Young Jik, Lee Jae Hun, Jeong Joon Mo, and Rim Il Jin. The Nepali guides were Chhiring Bhote, Lakpa Sangbu Bhote, Netra Bahadur Chatel, and Phurbu Bhote reports the New York Times.