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Tragedy on Pumori
image story

May 18, 2005 15: 57 EST
Previously published Mar 29, 2005 09: 35 EST

Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism has just confirmed a deadly accident on Pumori.

According to the Nepal authorities, Panama climber Alexander Ivan Chen Arrocha (35) and High altitude porter Phurba Tamang (25) died while descending from the summit. The climbers slipped down from 100 meters below the summit and fell in a crevasse.

The climbers were part of the Summit Climb team, led by American Dan Mazur. The team reached the summit of Pumori (7161m) in the Khumbu valley on March 25, according to the Ministry. The two climbers fell to their death on descent.

Summiteers that morning were Dan Mazur, client Liga Hartmane (from Latvia) and high altitude Sherpa Jangbu Sherpa. American Mark Christopher Merwin, Turkish Tune Findik, and high altitude Sherpas Tenji Sherpa, and Phuri Sherpa - all of them under Reilly’s permit - summited as well.

The team had been on the mountain since March 3, climbing the normal route. Summit Climb had two different permits to climb the mountain, one of them with Mazur as leader, the second led by Summit Climb guide, Australian Jay Mark Reilly.

They appear in Nepal’s Ministry files as Pumori International Expedition and Pumori International Expedition II. The two dead climbers were part of Reilly’s 11-member group.

Dan Mazur was leading his fourth expedition to Pumori, which he describes as “one of Nepal's easiest 7000 meter peaks” on his website. However, statistics prove that the avalanche-prone, crevasse-filled mountain is a dangerous challenge.

This spring Mazur is launching teams on both sides of Everest and on Lhotse.

"Unmarried Daughter" in Sherpa language, Pumori got her name by George Mallory, due to her location in the shade of Big E - eight km West, to be accurate. Since then, climbers sometimes refer to Pumori as "Everest's Daughter". It was first climbed in 1962 by Gerhard Lenser, member of a German-Swiss expedition.

Pumori stands at the top of the Khumbu valley, on the border between Nepal and Tibet. White and sweet as an ice cream cone, she poses a striking image before trekkers’ cameras, and a beautiful temptation to climbers ambitions.

Sadly enough, Pumori's climbing history offers much less confidence. Although not technically difficult, Pumori is a dangerous mountain prone to avalanche, especially in the post-monsoon season.

The ‘normal’ route on Pumori starts with a climb over an ice fall to the Southeast buttress, next traversing across open slopes to the East Ridge which can be followed to the summit.

Image of Pumori, copyright ExplorersWeb.
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