A Greek climber with years of high altitude experience died Tuesday on Nepal’s Dhaulagiri (8,167 m). This is the first fatality of this year’s Himalayan spring climbing season.
Antonios Sykaris’s death came a day after he posted on Instagram with an announcement that he reached the top of the world’s seventh-highest peak. Sykaris wrote that he was dedicating his feat to “my little Iris, my granddaughter.” He wrote, “Iris, I am at the top !!!”
The 59-year-old fell ill while descending, said mountain guide Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks. Dawa Sherpa helped Sykaris down from the summit to 7,400 metres, just above camp three. At 4 a.m., over 15 hours after summiting, Sykaris collapsed “after a huge physical and mental effort and lack of additional oxygen,” his home team wrote.
“He died at an altitude of 7,400 metres. We are speaking with his family,” Mingma Sherpa said. Sykaris had summited five other mountains higher than 8,000 metres, including the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, according to his website.
The Himalayan spring climbing season starts in April when temperatures warm and winds ease. Nepal’s government has already issued permits to 530 climbers for the season including 204 for Everest. There are currently several other climbers on Dhaulagiri hoping to reach the summit.