Bold Banker Goes For a Big Hike -By Ori Bridle  

23 May 2024

On Wednesday 22nd May 2024, Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui climbed up Mount Everest with his Nepali guide Nawang Sherpa. He took no oxygen. Within 24 hours Kirui was found dead a few meters from the summit.  

The pair lost communication with the people at Base camp soon after their departure. The reason for them going missing is unknown. Relevant sources such as the BBC and newspapers suggest that it was due to a lack of oxygen. 

Climbing in groups  

Historically people that have gone missing in large groups are often found however when in a smaller group or duo, it is much harder to find them. There are currently approximately 200 bodies unretrieved on Mount Everest. Most have died when they have become detached from their party. When climbing a mountain in a group, everyone is attached with a long rope. This is due to the heavy falling snow mixed with the winds makes hard visibility.  

Weather conditions on Everest 

It is quite common for climbers to lose their stepping and start walking down the wrong path due to poor visibility. However, there is no evidence to show that this is the reason for Mr Kirui’s disappearance. His Sherpa guide is reported to have though that Mr Kirui was showing ‘Abnormal behaviour’ and ‘refused to return and even consume bottled oxygen.’ This is considered very strange behaviour since he was later going into an altitude where oxygen was very much needed.  

The fact that Kirui’s body was found a few meters from the summit suggest he either run out of oxygen on his way up or coming down. Before his climb, he wrote, ‘”A no-oxygen attempt comes with its special preparations and risks, physically my body is ready”. Obviously, he was not which clearly shows that the extremely high chance of his death being due to a lack of oxygen.  

Climbing conditions

Ex-army science teacher Mr Edward Tenison, an experienced climber, explains that ‘the main thing at a high altitude that would affect a climber is altitude sickness and poor visibility in the clouds and the wind.’ His experience is in the Zensar Valley of Northern India. ‘The higher altitudes are really affected by the lack of oxygen and not having an oxygen tank seems ridiculous for the heights of Mount Everest.’ Some wind speeds on Everest can reach up to 160kph/100mph. Therefore, this makes the visibility extremely poor.  

Tourism on Everest 

One of the main problems in climbing Mount Everest now is that has almost become a tourist destination. People with inadequate precautions, training and health are attempting to climb it. This is a growing issue. It is unknown if Mr Kirui was in the best health and condition to climb the mountain. There are now long queues to get up to the summit in the climbing season, in the Spring when Mr Kirui choose to climb. He was a normal worker in a bank who did basic sports in school and went to a normal school in Kenya. He had an extraordinarily strong interest in mountaineering.