Missing Kenyan climber Cheruiyot Kirui found dead on Mount Everest

Thursday May 23 2024
Mountain climbing

Kenyan hiker Cheruiyot Kirui posted this photo on his Instagram page before embarking on the Mt Everest climb. PHOTO | INSTAGRAM via Cheruiyot Kirui (cheruiyot_ak)


A daring mission by a Kenyan hiker to conquer Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, has ended in death.

Mr Cheruiyot Kirui, an accomplished climber who had reached the peak of Mount Kenya more than 10 times, went missing above 8,000 metres on Mt Everest on Wednesday.

He was found lifeless in the 'death zone', area above 8,000 metres, on Thursday morning. 

"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 point of Mt Everest," reports Everest Today, which covers mountaineering over the Himalayas and Karakoram with a special focus on 8, 000 metre peaks. 

"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."

The Himalayan Times on Thursday reported that Mr Kirui's body was discovered by a rescue team from Seven Summit Treks, the organisers of the expedition that involved hikers from other countries, including the UK and Nepal. 


Read: Kagambi's journey to the world's rooftop


Kenyan hiker Cheruiyot Kirui posted this photo in his trekking update he posted on Instagram page on April 27, 2024. He was found dead on May 23, 2024. PHOTO | INSTAGRAM via Cheruiyot Kirui (cheruiyot_ak)

The fate of Mr Nawang Sherpa, who was with Mr Kirui in the 'death zone', was still unknown on Thursday morning, according to base camp officials.

The banker, who worked for Kenya Commercial Bank, reportedly attempted to scale Everest without using supplemental oxygen before he went out of contact from the Bishop Rock zone.

At extreme altitudes (5,500-8,848 metres), supplementary oxygen can be used to prevent the effects of severe hypoxia— a condition in which not enough oxygen reaches the body’s tissues.


On May 9, 2024, Kirui reported on his Instagram page that he and his fellow hikers had successfully made rotation number two in their quest to reach Mt Everest summit. PHOTO | INSTAGRAM via Cheruiyot Kirui (cheruiyot_ak)

Although Mount Everest has been climbed without supplemental oxygen, most climbers use their air back-up once they hit 6,000 metres above sea level. 

But before embarking on the hike, Mr Kirui had said that climbing with supplemental oxygen would not be a big challenge, and that is not what he wanted.

“The challenge for me would be without supplemental oxygen; otherwise, I wouldn't feel like I've achieved much. So I want to see how my body can cope in such altitude,” he said.

He was attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain above sea level in his quest to test the limitations of the human body.

Mt Everest, which straddles the border of China and Nepal, stands 8,849 metres (29,032 feet) tall.

Mr Kirui becomes the second hiker to be confirmed dead in the ill-fated expedition after Romanian climber Gabriel Tavara was found lifeless inside his tent at Camp III on Tuesday.

Mr Tavara, 48, was also attempting to climb Lhotse without using supplementary oxygen.

Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks, reported that Mr Kirui went missing after exhibiting “an abnormal behaviour” and remaining out of contact from the Bishop Rock, a few metres below the summit point.

"Kirui, a banker working with KCB, and his Sherpa guide Nawang were last contacted at the Bishop Rock," Mr Sherpa said.

Mr Kirui's family in Kenya and the KCB Group were yet to issue statements on the ill-fated trip by the time the Nation published this story.

Reaching the peak of Mt Everest is not a walk in the park.