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American climber dies on Mount Everest, expedition organizer says

A U.S. climber has died on Mount Everest, his expedition organizer said Tuesday, the first foreign death on the highest mountain in the world this season.

The 69-year-old mountaineer was at approximately 21,000 feet when he died on Monday.

"He was feeling unwell and passed away at Camp 2. Efforts are underway to bring (back) his body," Pasang Tshering Sherpa of Beyul Adventure told Agence France-Presse.

Sherpa said bad weather was hampering the recovery efforts.

Beyul Adventure is a local partner of U.S.-based expedition organizer International Mountain Guides.

"It is with deep sorrow that IMG reports the death of one of our Everest 2023 team members at Camp 2," IMG chief Eric Simonson said in a statement on the company's website. "We can confirm that this event was not the result of a climbing accident or route condition that would be of potential impact or safety concern to any other teams on the mountain. The rest of the IMG climbing team is all doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances."

The climber's name wasn't released.   

The spring Everest climbing season had a tragic start last month with the death of three Nepali climbers.

They were crossing the treacherous Khumbu icefall as part of a supply mission when a block of glacial ice fell and swept them into a deep crevasse.

Nepal has issued 466 permits to foreign climbers, and since most will need a guide, more than 900 people will try to summit this season, which runs until early June.

That could result in heavy traffic and bottlenecks en route to the summit, especially if there's a shorter climbing window because of unfavorable weather.

On average, around five climbers die every year on the world's highest peak.

But in 2019, 11 people died, with four of the deaths blamed on overcrowding that year.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are warm and winds are typically calm.

Last month, Northern Irish climber Noel Hanna, 56, died on Annapurna, the world's 10th highest mountain, which has an even higher death rate than Everest.

The 56-year-old adventurer was returning after a successful summit of the 26,545-foot peak when he died at Camp 4.

A day later, record-holding Indian climber Baljeet Kaur, 28, and compatriot Arjun Vajpai, 30, were both rescued after a search lasting hours.

Later, a third Indian climber, Anurag Maloo, 34, was rescued alive after falling 985 feet into a crevasse. 

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