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Two Japanese climbers killed in Annapurna Avalanche!
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Oct 11, 2004 09: 36 EST
Two Japanese climber were killed by an avalanche Sunday as they were climbing Annapurna One, according to a mountain climbing group based in Maebashi, Japan.

The group identified the two victims as Michio Sato, 43, the head of the four-member mountain climbing team, and Hideji Nazuka, 49. The two were leading the team up the 8,091-meter peak.

Sato and Nazuka were part of the Aichi Mountaineering Association Annapurna expedition.

Hideji Nazuka was one of the most accomplished climbers in Japan. He had already summited nine 8000+ peak. Before Annapurna, he had summited Dhaulagiri in 2001.

Annapurna (8,091 m) is statistically the top most dangerous peak of all the eight thousanders. The overall summit/fatality rate is 41% (although not all climbers summit of course).

Annapurna was the very first 8,000m peak ever summited. In 1950, French climbers Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal used only a rough map as a guide, and picked their way up an untried route to the summit. Their descent turned into a hellish nightmare, leaving them near death, with their extremities completely deadened by frostbite. Herzog and Lachenal survived their ordeal, but too many others have tragically lost their lives over the years.

On Christmas Day 1997, Anatoli Boukreev was killed in an avalanche, an event that shocked the mountaineering community. In total, only 130 climbers have summited Annapurna.

Image of Annapurna BC, courtesy of Piotr Pustelnik

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