Last moments of Kenyan Mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui who died on Mt Everest

Kenyan banker and avid mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui tragically passed away while attempting to summit Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. Known for his adventurous spirit and determination, Kirui was discovered just a few meters below the summit of the world’s highest peak. His daring expedition captivated many but ultimately ended in sorrow.

In April, Kirui embarked on his ambitious “Big Project 2024: Everest No-Ox” with high hopes and a clear objective: to reach the summit of Mt. Everest without using supplemental oxygen. This rare feat has been achieved by only 2% of climbers, and no African has yet joined this exclusive group. In a social media post, Kirui explained his motivation: “For some reason, I feel I can comfortably climb Everest with oxygen, which unfortunately neutralizes the thrill of such a climb for me. I’m not sure of my chances without oxygen though, which makes such an attempt exciting, introducing the adrenaline factor, and we just have to find out.”

Documenting his journey meticulously on social media, Kirui provided updates that conveyed both the excitement and the challenges of his expedition. His initial posts detailed delays at Ramenchhap airport due to weather, which cost him valuable acclimatization days. Once the trekking began, he shared his experiences from the first three days, highlighting the elevation changes and the physical toll of the climb. “Finally!! After two days delay we flew to Lukla. But not after the first flight at 6 am had to re-route back mid-air due to ‘fog’ at Lukla,” he wrote, capturing the unpredictable nature of the journey.

As Kirui ascended higher, the challenges intensified. He described the living conditions on a glacier, the physical strain of the Khumbu Icefall, and the infamous “Khumbu cough.” Despite these hardships, Kirui remained determined, sharing his progress with his followers. One particularly poignant post read, “Pretty luxurious living at base camp with numerous camps for different outfitters supporting the climbers from 60 countries.” His words painted a vivid picture of the diverse and challenging environment of Everest.

In his final post, Kirui outlined his preparations for the summit rotation, detailing the special measures he took and sharing his mental and physical readiness for the final ascent. “My plan: A no-oxygen attempt comes with its special preparations and risks; physically my body is ready. On the other risks, I’m taking the following measures,” he wrote, listing his precautions against cold, high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and other dangers.

On May 23, Everest Today, a leading source of mountaineering news, announced Kirui’s death with a heartfelt message: “With profound sadness, we share the news of Kenyan mountaineer Cheruiyot Kirui’s passing on Mt. Everest.” His body was found a few meters below the summit. He was on a daring mission to reach the summit without supplemental oxygen and was accompanied by Nepali climber Nawang Sherpa, whose fate is still unknown. “His indomitable will and passion for mountaineering will forever be an inspiration. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this time of sorrow. Rest in peace, Cheruiyot,” the publication said.