Chris Kulish, 62, of Boulder, died Monday while descending from the highest summit in the world, his family confirmed in a statement. The circumstances surrounding his death were not clear.
A record number of climbers have summited Mount Everest in April and May, the peak climbing months. Last week, there were reports of massive crowding, especially near Hillary Step, where climbers had to walk single file.
Kulish, a lawyer and member of the “7 Summit Club,” climbed Everest with a small group in “near ideal weather,” according to his family. He died after returning to the camp below the peak.
“He saw his last sunrise from the highest peak on Earth,” the family said.
Kulish was “an inveterate climber of peaks in Colorado, the West and the world,” his family said, adding that he “passed away doing what he loved.”
The tenth person to die this year was 41-year-old British climber Robin Haynes Fisher, officials said.
The death of another climber, 55-year-old Donald Lynn Cash of Utah, who fainted shortly after reaching the Everest peak due to altitude sickness, was reported last week. Cash had conquered the Seven Summits — the tallest mountains on each continent, guide company Pioneer Adventure said on its website.
This year has been the deadliest for climbers on Mount Everest since 2012, when 10 climbers died. All 11 deaths in 2019 occurred during peak climbing season.
Officials have issued 367 permits to foreigners and another 14 to Nepalese mountaineers to climb Everest this year, according to a government liaison officer at base camp.
There have only five days when conditions were safe enough to summit, Alan Arnette, a mountaineering expert who runs a Mount Everest blog, told ABC News. Some climbers spent up to 20 hours above 8,000 meters due to a combination of exhaustion and wait times, Arnette said. The average time is between 10 and 12 hours, he said.
ABC News’ Edit Honan and Clayton Sandell contributed to this report.