Kenyan, Cheruiyot Kirui found dead on Everest after he was reported missing near the summit
Kenyan Cheruiyot Kirui death on Everest

A Kenyan hiker by the name of Cheruiyot Kirui, who went missing near the top of Everest has been found dead after taking a fall, 48 meters away from the summit into a crevasse, but base camp officials still don’t know where his Sherpa guide is. Nineteen Summit Treks climbers found Cheruiyot Kirui’s body a few meters below the top of Mt. Everest, according to officials at the base camp. They say that they still don’t know what happened to Nawang Sherpa, who was with Kirui in the death zone. The Kenyan climber, Kirui was aiming to make history by becoming the first Kenyan/African to summit Mount Everest without supplementary oxygen bottles. Kirui had some mountaineering experience as he had previously climbed Mount Kenya 15 times to the peak.

Kirui lost touch from Bishop Rock when he tried to climb Everest without using extra oxygen. “Nawang had last communicated with the base camp officials from Bishop Rock that Kirui refused to return and even consume bottled oxygen but showed abnormal behaviour,” they added.

Cheruiyot had expressed his intention to reach the summit of the mountain without relying on supplemental oxygen, referring to it as a “curiosity expedition”. Originally scheduled to begin on April 17, 2024, he faced delays due to adverse weather conditions. Sharing his thoughts on Instagram, he lamented being stranded at Ramenchhap airport for two days, emphasizing the unpredictability of mountain trekking. Despite feeling confident in his ability to climb Everest with oxygen, he sought the challenge of attempting the ascent without it to introduce an adrenaline factor. Noting that while others had conquered Everest, no African had attempted it, making it a personal goal for him to achieve. The Mountaineering community has expressed their condolences, recognizing the passion Cheruiyot had for mountain climbing.

Cheruiyot kirui on Everest

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, aged 40, and his Sherpa guide named Nawang, aged 44, had disappeared above the Hillary Step since Wednesday morning. Kirui’s body was found by Sherpa rescuers late that same day, located approximately 19 meters (62 feet) below the summit of the mountain which stands at 8,849 meters. Nepal’s Department of Tourism confirmed this information, noting that Nawang was still unaccounted for. According to Khim Lal Gautam, the head of the Expedition Monitoring and Facilitation Field Office at the base camp, it is uncertain whether Kirui and Nawang vanished before reaching the summit or during their ascent.

Retrieving bodies from Mount Everest, the process and costs

In his most recent Instagram update, Mr. Kirui, who worked as a banker for one of Kenya’s largest financial institutions, expressed his belief that he could conquer Mount Everest without the need for extra oxygen.

“A no-oxygen attempt comes with its special preparations and risks, physically my body is ready,” Mr Kirui noted in his last Instagram post.


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A post shared by Cheruiyot Kirui (@cheruiyot_ak)

Officials also said that climbers who are on the summit push today have been looking for Nawang. On Tuesday morning, two hikers went down near Hillary Step on Mt. Everest. A person at the base camp said that Daniel Paul Peterson from the UK and Pas Tenji Sherpa from Makalu fell when a part of the Hillary section below the summit point gave way.

The Kenyan mountain climbing community is deeply saddened by the news of the death. James Muhia, a fellow Kenyan mountaineer who had been providing updates on Mr Kirui’s climb, expressed the sorrow felt by everyone. He had faith in Mr Kirui’s abilities, describing him as well-prepared, physically fit, resilient, and experienced. Last year, Mr Muhia had climbed to the summit of Manaslu with Mr Kirui as well. Mr Kirui’s passing marks the fourth death on Everest this week, following the deaths of a Romanian climber, a British climber, and his Nepalese guide as reported by the Himalayan Times.

Last moments of Cheruiyot Kurui before death on Everest

Last moments of Cheruiyot Kirui who has died on Mt Everest

Banker Cheruiyot Kirui tragically passed away while striving to be the first African to conquer Mt. Everest without using supplementary oxygen. Korir Sing’oei, Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs, expressed his sorrow over the loss of his friend, a banker at KCB Group. Sing’oei praised Kirui’s brave and daring nature, highlighting his representation of the unwavering determination of many Kenyans. KCB Group CEO Paul Russo also honored Kirui as a remarkable Kenyan hero who elevated Kenya and Africa’s reputation on a global scale through his mountaineering pursuits. Kirui’s ambitious project, “Everest No-Ox 2024,” aimed to summit Mt. Everest without the assistance of supplemental oxygen, a challenging goal achieved by only a small percentage of climbers worldwide. Kirui’s personal reflections on social media showcased his drive to push his limits and experience the adrenaline rush of climbing Everest without additional oxygen, ultimately leaving a legacy of courage and inspiration.

Why are bodies left on Mount Everest?

Cheruiyot’s body to be left on Mt. Everest, a statement from the family says

The family of mountain climber Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui has made the decision to leave his body on Mt. Everest on May 22, 2024.

“The family has made the difficult decision to let his body remain on Mt. Everest. This decision was made after extensive consultations and careful consideration of all circumstances,” said a statement from the family on Wednesday, May 29 night. They also said that they ‘do not wish to endanger any life.’

“Cheruiyot deeply loved the mountains, and they loved him in return. We find solace in knowing he rests in his happy place. We appreciate the love and condolence messages received from relatives, friends and the outdoor community. We specifically acknowledge the massive support from the KCB Group family where Joshua worked. We truly know that our son was loved,” read the statement.

The family also extended their gratitude to Seven Summit Treks for their support, information, and guidance.  “We also pray for the family of Nawang Sherpa, Cheruiyot’s Sherpa during this expedition, who is yet to be found,” read the statement.

A memorial will be held to honour the dedicated hiker in Nairobi and Chepterit village, and the specific dates will be announced at a later time. The family has also indicated that contributions can be made through Paybill: 522533 Account: 9229224 under the Name: Cheruiyot Kirui Fundraising for Cheruiyot’s Family.

Documenting the Journey

Kirui meticulously chronicled his adventure on social media, updating his followers with the thrilling highs and daunting challenges of his expedition. His initial posts recounted the setbacks at Ramenchhap airport caused by inclement weather, resulting in the loss of crucial acclimatization time. As the trek commenced, Kirui detailed his experiences during the first three days, emphasizing the altitude changes and the physical strain of the ascent. “Finally!! After a two-day delay, we finally flew to Lukla. However, our first flight at 6 am had to turn back mid-air due to ‘fog’ at Lukla,” he described, encapsulating the unpredictable nature of the journey.

Facing Harsh Realities

As Kirui ascended further up, the difficulties became more pronounced. He detailed the harsh living conditions on a glacier, the strenuous physical exertion required in the Khumbu Icefall, and the well-known “Khumbu cough.” Despite these challenges, Kirui stayed resolute, updating his followers on his journey. One specific post he shared said, “Living conditions at base camp are quite comfortable with multiple camps set up by various outfitters catering to climbers from 60 different countries.” Through his words, Kirui illustrated the diverse and demanding landscape of Everest.

Mount Everest’s Death Zone: What Happens to the Human Body?

The Final Push

In his last update, Kirui explained his plans for the upcoming summit rotation. He provided specific information about the steps he took to prepare and expressed his confidence in his mental and physical readiness for the challenging ascent. “I am ready physically for a no-oxygen attempt, but there are some specific risks that need to be addressed. To mitigate these risks, I am taking precautionary steps such as protecting against the cold, avoiding high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and other potential dangers,” he detailed.

A Heartfelt Farewell

On May 23, well-known mountaineering news outlet Everest Today broke the news of Kirui’s death with a heartfelt message. They announced the passing of Kenyan climber Cheruiyot Kirui on Mt Everest, expressing deep sorrow. Kirui’s body was discovered just a few meters below the peak of the mountain, where he was attempting a challenging climb without the use of additional oxygen. He was joined by Nepal’s Nawang Sherpa on this daring mission, but Sherpa’s current status remains uncertain.

Mount Everest Dead Bodies : How many people die on Everest?

Who was Cheruiyot Kirui?

Kirui, a banker by trade, was filled with optimism as he set out on his challenging journey to conquer the summit of the world’s tallest mountain above sea level, as evidenced by his frequent social media updates. Despite his confident attitude, fate had a different outcome in store for him. Tragically, just before his final push to reach the summit, the former Chebisaas High School student passed away. His lifeless body was found a short distance below the peak, the day after he and his guide were reported missing. A school friend, Shadrack Mwirotsi, recalled how Kirui always pursued the most difficult challenges, preferring ultra-challenges that went beyond the usual 42km distance. Mwirotsi fondly remembered their encounter at the Kericho Ultra event, where Kirui completed a demanding 50km course while Mwirotsi settled for 30km. It was clear that Kirui thrived on extreme outdoor adventures and relished the satisfaction of a well-deserved White Cap lager after his feats. Kirui meticulously detailed his ambitious plans for the perilous expedition on his social media platforms. He revealed on Instagram that he intended to summit the mountain without supplemental oxygen, a decision that required careful preparation and entailed significant risks. Despite being physically prepared for the challenge, Kirui knew he had to contend with other dangers such as extreme cold, medication requirements, and emergency oxygen provisions. Throughout his journey, he documented his progress on Instagram and Facebook, sharing updates at every stage of his daring quest. Nevertheless, it has been five days since he last posted on his social media accounts. Below are his climbing experience and achievements.


Ultra Marathons:

  • Ultra Trail Chiang Mai, Thailand (160km, 6100m elevation) – 2nd position
  • August 2022 + Cappadocia Ultra Trail, Turkey (121km, 3,600m elevation)
  • October 2021 + Tor Des Grants (Tour of the Giants), Italian Alps (356km, 27,000m elevation) – September 2019.
    He has written a book on this one
  • No Business 100, USA (166km, 3,900m elevation) – 2018
  • Beskidy Ultra Trail, Poland (96km, 4,900m elevation) – September 2017

Everest, an expensive deathbed

Overall, the 8-5 banker made a significant investment in terms of physical, mental, and time commitments. He was well-prepared for the cold, understanding the risk of frostbite without oxygen at high altitudes. Equipped with heated gloves, mittens, socks, and spare batteries, he also carried Diamox, nifedipine for High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and medications for High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Aware of the dangers and costs involved, he humorously mentioned the financial toll of the expedition. Despite the challenges, he remained determined to document his journey with photos, promising to share every step towards reaching the summit.

Brit still missing as Kenyan climber’s death marks dark week on Everest

A British climber named Daniel Paul Paterson, aged 40, along with his guide Pas Tenji Sherpa, aged 23, are currently missing on Mount Everest. Unfortunately, a climber from Kenya has also lost their life on the mountain. This news comes after the tragic deaths of two Mongolian climbers last week on their way down from the summit. The Kenyan climber passed away on Mount Everest, as confirmed by officials on Thursday. The British climber and his Sherpa companion have been missing since Tuesday when they had an accident near the South Summit. They were last heard from when they reached the summit at 4:40 am local time on Tuesday. A Sherpa in their group mentioned that the incident happened between the Summit Ridge and the South Summit, with some climbers being swept away by Kangshung Face. Search and rescue teams are currently on the ground, putting in great efforts to find the missing climbers. The situation has been challenging, and thoughts and prayers are with the families of the climbers. A cornice fell and carried away a few climbers, including Daniel and his guide, towards the Tibet side, as reported by a team member at the Everest base camp. More than 7,000 climbers have successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, some making multiple ascents since it was first climbed in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. However, over 335 climbers have tragically lost their lives on the mountain. In another sad incident, Binod Babu Bastakoti from Pokhara suffered from altitude sickness at 8,300 metres, just above the camp. According to Narbin Magar of Booking Own Pvt. Ltd, Bastakoti had obtained a climbing permit through Yeti Mountain Adventure and had joined other Sherpa guides from the high camp. Despite reaching the summit early Wednesday morning, he could not survive the descent. This unfortunate event serves as a reminder of the dangers of high-altitude mountaineering. Those attempting to summit Everest must have experience in mountaineering, a clean bill of health, proper equipment, and a certified Nepalese guide.

Gabriel Tabara of Romania was also found dead in his tent at Camp III on Tuesday. Two Mongolian climbers, Usukhjargal Tsedendamba and Prevsuren Lkhagvajav, also died above 8,500 meters on May 13 while going down from the top.


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