French climber dies on mount makalu, second fatality of spring climbing season.

Tragedy struck Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest peak, as expedition organizers confirmed the death of a French climber on Tuesday, marking the second fatality of this year’s spring climbing season, both occurring on the same mountain.

Johnny Saliba, aged 60, succumbed to the harsh conditions at an altitude of 8,120 meters (26,640 feet) during his ascent on Sunday. According to Bodha Raj Bhandari, an expedition organizer at Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition, Saliba exhibited symptoms of altitude sickness during his summit push, prompting his guide to initiate a descent. Unfortunately, Saliba’s condition deteriorated rapidly, leading to his passing.

Efforts are currently underway to retrieve Saliba’s body, with his family having been notified of the tragic incident. Saliba was part of a French team tackling the formidable 8,485-meter-tall (27,838 feet) mountain, and while the rest of the team safely returned to the base camp, his loss has cast a somber shadow over their expedition.

This unfortunate event follows the recent death of a 53-year-old Nepali guide on Mount Makalu, who lost his life during descent after successfully reaching the summit.

Despite the risks, Nepal has issued 59 permits to foreign climbers for Mount Makalu this year, each costing $1,800 compared to the significantly higher fee of $11,000 for Everest. With the support of a rope-fixing team’s efforts last month, dozens of climbers have managed to conquer Makalu’s peak.

The allure of Nepal’s Himalayan peaks, encompassing eight of the world’s 14 highest summits, continues to draw hundreds of climbers during the spring climbing season, attracted by favorable weather conditions and relatively calm winds.

Nepal’s issuance of more than 900 permits for mountain expeditions this year, including 414 for Everest, has contributed significantly to the country’s revenues, generating over $5 million in royalties. However, as highlighted by these recent tragedies, the pursuit of these towering summits remains fraught with peril.