60 year old Aussie climber Dies from Altitude Sickness While Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Jon Clarke Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, though rare, has claimed yet another life. this time, during a dream post-retirement vacation, an Australian man passed away while he was only seconds away from completing a challenging ascent of one of the most recognized mountains in the world.

Are there any reported deaths on Kilimanjaro? Read more here

On February 26, at a height of only 100 meters from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Jon Clarke, who had previously served as the head of printing for the Canberra Times and Australian Community Media (ACM), passed while suffering from altitude sickness.

Mr. Clarke had just recently retired in 2021, and he considered the trip to Africa’s highest mountain to be the “trip of a lifetime” in an effort to commemorate his sixty-first birthday.

It was the day before his passing that his family lost communication with him, and they had been expecting for him to get in touch with them for many days before they were informed of the devastating news.

The others in Mr. Clarke’s company were told that even though he was gravely ill, he urged them to get him “to the top.” However, they were ultimately compelled to descend to save his life.

On the seventh day of the ascent, Mr. Clarke began to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. He was experiencing these symptoms.

What is altitude sickness and how do you overcome it?

Lewis, his eldest son, stated that to maintain his fitness level, he had been training for six months before to the journey and walking for four hours each day.

A climber is more likely to have altitude sickness if they do not slow down to control their breathing and if they do not accustom their body to the reduced levels of oxygen that are present at extreme heights.

At heights of more than 3,000 meters, the likelihood of experiencing severe altitude sickness increases, which put Mr. Clarke in danger when he was just below the height of Kilimanjaro, which is 5,895 meters.

A shortage of oxygen can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations of the heart, fluid accumulation in the lungs, and a blued-out appearance of the skin and nails.

On an annual basis, between 30,000 to 50,000 individuals make the ascent to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, despite the risk of experiencing altitude sickness.

Every year, just three to ten individuals fail to make it up the mountain, despite the fact that they attempt to climb it.

According to Lewis, his father passed away while doing what he enjoyed most—traveling.

“I really hope he was having a good time.” I believe he was delighted to show us images when he came back from the trip,’ he said to the Canberra Times. He had put in a lot of effort to prepare for the trek.


Employees who had worked with Mr. Clarke in the past said that he would stroll during his breaks at work as he was thinking about his next trip.


After traveling to China, Vietnam, Fiji, Cambodia, and Hawaii together, he and his wife of 31 years, Jenene, were a couple who were truly motivated to travel the world.

His family had a running joke that he could strike up a conversation with anyone, regardless of where he went in the globe. He was remembered for his genial attitude, and they continued to laugh about it.

As Mr. Clarke was being recalled, Rod Quinn, the editorial director of Australian Community Media, referred to him as “one of the smartest, most respected, and most professional people I have worked with in the industry.”

“He was a voice that was forward-thinking and active in the way that we managed the company.” From what Mr. Quinn shared with the Canberra Times, “If he could do anything to help us get the newspaper out, he would do it.”

On top of everything else, he was a wonderful human being.

Read also How TED Talk and East Bay Entrepreneur died on Kilimanjaro

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia is giving consular support to the family of the victim, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE from a representative for the department.

During this trying time, we want the family to know that we are thinking about them and sending our sincere condolences! Therefore, we are unable to give any additional remark due to the duties we have regarding privacy.

A report from the newspaper situated in Australia stated that the deceased individual was identified as Jon Clarke, who had previously served as the head of printing for The Canberra Times and had retired in the year 2021.

Alexander Clarke, one of Jon Clarke’s sons, said in an email to PEOPLE on Thursday that his father was a family guy, a loving father and husband who devoted his life to his family and the newspaper industry. “Jon was a family man,” this statement read. A distinction that he proudly carried throughout his whole life, he was the B-grade sports champion for Cootamundra. As a seasoned hiker, he had been preparing for this expedition for a period of seven months.


By the seventh day of his ascent, Clarke, who was originally from Canberra in Australia, was experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness, according to Sky News. His distance from the summit was one hundred meters (328 feet).

The highest point of Kilimanjaro, which stands at 19,340 feet, is the tallest mountain in Africa, as stated by the National Geographic Society. The number of fatalities on the mountain ranges between three and ten individuals each year, according to Kilimanjaro National Park, which reports that around 30,000 people climb the mountain, each year.

During the ascent, Clarke, who was with his closest buddy, had difficulties breathing, according to Alexander, who confirmed this information to 7NEWS Australia. Clarke succumbed to his injuries and they turned back and began to descend. The cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) attempts that were made to revive him were unsuccessful.

According to Alexander, his family did not learn that Jon had passed away until March 2nd.

Before Clarke was forced to descend the mountain, it is alleged that he said the words, “Just get me to the top.”

Lewis, Clarke’s other son, expressed his hope that his father had a good time on the steep ascent. According to what he shared with The Canberra Times, “He put in a lot of effort to train for the walk, and I believe he was excited to show us pictures” when he returned.

Related: How rally driver, Gugu Zulu died on Kilimanjaro

Until his retirement two years ago, Clarke had spent a significant amount of time working in the newspaper industry. He had worked as a press operator at The Canberra Times, where he had been employed since 1993.

The Canberra Times also mentioned that he had been married to his wife Jenene for a total of 31 years.

Alexander continued his statement to PEOPLE by saying, “Our family is completely devastated by the sudden and unexpected loss of our husband and father.” this was expressed in the statement. “He had just recently retired and had every intention of traveling the world with our mother for a good number of years to come,” she said. A gift is the life that you still have left. Be sure to treasure it. Enjoy it to the utmost right now. Now is the time to do what is important.


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