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with Stefan Nestler

Everest evergreen Kuriki: Eighth attempt

Kuriki en route to Everest

He kept his word. At the end of the 2017 spring season, Nobukazu Kuriki had promised after his seventh failed attempt on Mount Everest: “I’ll be back.” Now the 35-year-old Japanese is again on the way to the base camp on the Nepalese south side, where he is expected on Thursday. To pre-acclimatize, Nobukazu had climbed in late March in four days to the summit of the 6038-meter-high Chulu Far East in the Annapurna region. As on his previous Everest attempts, Nobukazu wants to be en route on the highest of all mountains solo and without bottled oxygen. First, he plans to climb to the top of the 8516-meter-high Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain on earth, Kuriki writes on Facebook. Afterwards he wants to return to the base camp and then tackle Everest. Only immediately before his departure, Nobukazu wants to reveal his climbing route. “I will not give up,” he announced almost defiantly.

Six times in fall, once in spring

On top of Chulu Far East

Last year, the Japanese had planned to climb solo through the Everest North Face. Because of the poor conditions in the wall, he switched from the north to the south side late in the spring season – with the aim of ascending via the West Ridge and the Hornbein Couloir in the upper part of the North Face to the highest point at 8850 meters. Bad weather prevented his project. In previous years, Kuriki had tried six times in vain to climb Everest in fall: five times from the Nepalese, once from the Tibetan side (in 2016).

Only one complete finger

After his Everest attempt in fall 2012

In October 2012, the Japanese had made headlines worldwide when he had tried to reach the summit via the West Ridge. The then 30-year-old said that he had to turn back at about 8,000 meters because of a storm. On his descent, Kuriki sent an emergency call. Sherpas climbed up to him, and the Japanese was flown by rescue helicopter from Camp 2 at 6,400 meters to a hospital in Kathmandu. Kuriki suffered severe frostbite. Nine fingers had to be amputated; only stumps were left – and only one complete thumb. The handicap did not stop his ambition to climb Everest – quite the contrary.


24. April 2018 | 15:44