An experienced Swiss climber died on Sunday after he fell in the Everest region of Nepal during preparations to climb the world's highest mountain, the first to perish in the current climbing season, officials said.
Ueli Steck, 40, died after falling to the foot of Mount Nuptse, a smaller peak in the area, said Mingma Sherpa of the Seven Summits Treks company that organised Steck's expedition.
Steck was in the area acclimatising ahead of a bid to climb Everest through the less-climbed West Ridge route and traverse to Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak - at 8,516 metres in May.
Today while Yannick, Hans and me were climbing to C3, Ueli Steck died at the Nuptse. Yesterday we were having lunch together in C2. Too sad.— Ferran Latorre (@ferranlatorre) April 30, 2017
Hans, Yannick and me we are back safe to C2. Tomorrow down to BC. We still have no words to explain what we feel. And I guess we will never— Ferran Latorre (@ferranlatorre) April 30, 2017
Kamal Prasad Parajuli, an official with Nepal's Department of Tourism said that Steck, who climbed Everest in 2012 without using an oxygen cylinder, "slipped and fell 1,000 metres" in the Western Cwm along the normal route to Everest.
In a video recorded in early April and posted on YouTube, Steck said he would judge the attempt a success regardless of whether he reached the top - as long as he returned alive.
Thank you Ueli for showing us what could be done, to live bravely & give back with your generous spirit. You'll be missed #Uelisteck— Alan Arnette (@alan_arnette) April 30, 2017
Known for speed climbing
Steck - also known as the "Swiss machine" for his rapid pace and record solo ascents in the Alps - was reportedly climbing alone when he lost his footing.
Last year, Steck and a German climber discovered the bodies of two famed American climbers, Alex Lowe and David Bridges, who were swept away in 1999 by an avalanche during their attempt to scale the world's 14th highest peak, Shishapangma.
Hundreds of climbers gather at Everest base camp during the March-May climbing season as they prepare to climb the 8,850 metre Everest Summit.
TRT World's Oliver Whitfield-Miocic has more details.