On his eighth attempt to summit Everest, Nobukazu Kuriki, born in 1982, a Japanese climber who had nearly all of his fingers amputated on the mountain passed away in 2018.
“Solo without oxygen” was how Kuriki touted his climbing technique. Kuriki’s approach was not, however, acknowledged as “solo without oxygen” by the mountaineering community.In reality, he was aided by Sherpas, and he occasionally hid oxygen bottles.
He delivered popular lectures around Japan on the subject of “shared adventure” and the importance of tenacity, and he gained a large following on social media with his online postings, which included videos and pictures of his climbs.
Throughout his career, Kuriki was successful in scaling the Seven Summits, which are the tallest mountains on each of the six continents. These mountains include Denali, Aconcagua, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Carstensz Pyramid, and Mount Vinson.
Yoshimoto Creative Agency, a talent agency, served as his representative.Once or twice a year, Kuriki would ascend the Himalayas at a high altitude. In August 2007 and May 2009, he successfully ascended the 8000-meter peaks Cho Oyu and Dhaulagiri. He attempted to climb Mount Everest without oxygen while streaming a live video feed online in September 2009 and September 2010, however he was unable to go past 8,000 meters.
Nobukazu Kuriki, who was in his mid-thirties, got sick on Monday while descending, according to his team’s Facebook post.
Kuriki stopped responding to radio communications, and when we peered up in the dark from the bottom, we couldn’t see his headlamp.
“The team near Camp 2 climbed up his route to search for him and discovered Kuriki who passed away due to low body temperature,” it said. He’d gotten to 7,400 meters.
During his 2012 attempt on Everest’s West Ridge, Kuriki suffered severe frostbite and lost all but one of his fingers.
He was able to grasp with his right thumb, but he was unable to properly utilize an ice axe, a vital piece of a mountaineer’s safety gear.
Kuriki was accustomed to the harsh circumstances of Everest, which can be found on both the Chinese and Nepalese sides of the peak.
Chinese authorities forced him off the mountain in 2009 before he could finish his scheduled ascents.
A 2010 attempt from the Nepalese side of the peak was abandoned due to bad weather and a catastrophic accident involving his team.
His tent poles, provisions, and cooking gas were stolen by Himalayan crows during a second attempt in 2011, and on his final attempt in 2012, the intense cold and strong winds put a stop to his quest and left him with severe frostbite.
In 2015, he made another attempt, the first after a terrible earthquake on April 25 that left 61 people wounded and 19 dead at the mountain’s base camp and was the worst incident in Everest history. He was stymied by the bad circumstances.
Weather issues also derailed attempts in 2016 and 2017.
Without using oxygen canisters, he was able to climb a number of 8,000-meter peaks in Nepal, including Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, and Mount Broad Peak, but he was unable to conquer Everest, which has an elevation of 8,850 meters (29,035 feet).
Since mountaineers started their attack on the massif in 1922, more than 10,000 climbers have attempted to scale Everest, but Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay weren’t able to do it until 1953.
What happened to Nobukazu Kuriki?
What was Nobukazu Kuriki’s true goal for Mount Everest? Since the 35-year-old Japanese climber was discovered dead on May 21 at a height of around 6,600 meters, this question has been plaguing me. In the weeks prior, Nobukazu had kept his specific strategy a secret. His office stated that he desired to climb via the Southwest Fall in the wake of Kuriki’s passing. Without bottled air, as he had asserted, and alone? Nobukazu would have already changed the course of Everest history if he had merely accomplished one of these two requirements.
Without a breathing mask, only one Southwest Face succeed
Only approximately 30 climbers have successfully ascended the Southwest Face since it was originally climbed by the British Doug Scott and Dougal Haston in the fall of 1975, and only once without the use of bottled oxygen: Jozef Just was the sole member of a four-man Slovak team to reach the summit in the fall of 1988. He perished along with his three other team members during the descent. Before Kurik’s penetration into the wall, there had never been a significant solo effort on the treacherous and steep Southwest Face. Vladimir Strba of Slovakia declared that he will do it alone in the spring of 2017 after he and his countrymen Zoltan Pal had to pull out at 7,200 meters the year prior. Strba eventually changed to his normal path nonetheless.
The 48-year-old died on the South Col from extreme altitude sickness after ascending to the South Summit at 8,750 meters without a breathing apparatus.
How seriously ill was Kuriki?
Even if Kuriki had been at his best, his prospects of victory had to be considered exceedingly low given this situation. The Japanese, though, weren’t. He had a terrible cough and a fever when he got to base camp. Kuriki said he had a little cough two days before to passing away, but added that it was almost completely gone. At a height of 7,400 meters, Kuriki entered the wall and erected his tent. He gave a broadcast assurance that he would exercise caution there. At night, he must have become worse.
Kuriki felt sick and was thus descending, his crew informed him the following morning. There was no further indication of him after that. The video crew members who were to capture his ascension from the Nuptse slopes looked for him and eventually located Nobukazu. According to Kuriki’s office, it may be inferred from the state of his body that he most likely fell 100 to 200 meters.
After raising the bar even higher than before
Fall 2016 found Kuriki at 6,800 meters on the Everest North Face.
Kuriki was able to conquer the Southwest Face, but did he truly think he could? Ken Noguchi, a Japanese climber, stated to the newspaper “Asahi Shimbun” that he disagrees:
It appears to me that his objective eventually shifted from reaching the top to subjecting himself to the most extreme circumstances conceivable and telling others about it. Kuriki also frequently appeared to overestimate his capabilities on his seven prior efforts at climbing Everest, six of them in the fall. He sustained serious frostbite in 2012 while attempting to use the West Ridge. He had to have nine of his 10 fingers removed. Nevertheless, he made his way back to Everest, first ascending through the standard route on the south side, where he had been by himself in 2015, before moving on to the North Face and then the Southwest Face. Kuriki didn’t lower the bar; on the contrary, he raised it.
Yasuhiro Hanatani, a climber and friend of Nobukazu, said: “He would have had a decent chance of ascending without oxygen if only he had followed the Southeast Ridge (the standard route), but it would have meant not climbing it alone. Kuriki was undoubtedly under strain as well. My Japanese acquaintance claimed that the 35-year-old had gradually lost the attention of the local media because he was prone to making ambitious plans that, in all likelihood, would not be successful. Perhaps Nobukazu Kuriki ultimately went too far, which can be fatal on the highest mountains on earth. Only approximately 30 climbers have successfully ascended the Southwest Face since the British Doug Scott and Dougal Haston made the first ascent in the fall of 1975, and only once without bottled oxygen: In the fall of 1988, Jozef Just was the sole member of a four-person Slovak team to reach the summit. He perished along with his three other team members during the descent. Before Kurik’s penetration into the wall, there had never been a significant solo effort on the treacherous and steep Southwest Face. Vladimir Strba of Slovakia declared that he will do it alone in the spring of 2017 after he and his countrymen Zoltan Pal had to pull out at 7,200 meters the year prior. Strba eventually changed to the standard path nonetheless. The 48-year-old died on the South Col from extreme altitude sickness after ascending to the South Summit at 8,750 meters without a breathing apparatus.