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Update on yesterdays Everest casualty
20:56 p.m. EDT May 25, 2003
When guides from the Alpine Ascents team came across Karma Sherpa (from another American expedition) just below Camp II, 6450m, he was badly in need of help. The guides had a tough decision to make; hold to their client/guide responsibilities or hold to their responsibilities as human beings and risk the teamís summit attempt.

In the end, despite the Alpine Ascents guides, and several other climbersí best efforts, which involved lowering Karma Sherpa through the icefall in the dark, he died while being rescued. It is not known exactly what Karma died of, but it appears initially to be from kidney failure, or septic shock from a perforated bowel or intestine.

Alpine Ascentís guide Luis Benitez reports that Karma said he hadnít gone to the bathroom in three days. His stomach was as hard as a board just before he died. Constipation is a common problem at altitude, and very dangerous. Climbers and Sherpas prevent it by eating lots of canned fruit and drink plenty of water. Even with that however, altitude bathroom visits often result in "rabbit droppings" and the condition can turn very painful and even deadly.

Read Alpine Ascents guide Luis Benitezís full report on the attempted rescue

Ministry Press Release

Mr. Karma Gylzen Sherpa (28 yrs), a Climbing Sherpa from Sotang - 6, Solukhumbu reportedly died on May 24, 2003 at 7.30 PM local time, near Camp I while he was sick and was on his way to Base Camp from the South Col. Mr. Karma Gylzen Sherpa was one of the Climbing Sherpas of the seven-member, "Team Everest 2003 Expedition," permitted to Climb Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) from the South East Ridge for a period of seventy five days from April 3, 2003 under the leadership of Mr. Gary John Guller (37 Yrs), Mountain Guide from Austin, Texas, USA. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism,and Civil Aviation expresses its deep sorrow on the sad demise of Mr. Karma Gylzen Sherpa.

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