Leading Dutch mountaineer Ronald Naar died on Sunday while descending Cho Oyu, Radio Netherlands has reported. Naar had given up his summit bid and was heading down with his team when he reported feeling unwell and collapsed unexpectedly at 26,200 feet.
Naar, 56, was one of the Netherlands' most successful alpinists and the first Dutchman to climb the seven summits. During the 1970s, he became the first Dutch climber to scale the Alps' three greatest north faces: the Eiger, Matterhorn, and Grandes Jorasses. He later concentrated on establishing first ascents on remote polar peaks, making a number of expeditions to places like Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Naar's career was marred by a number of controversies. The most notable took place in 1992, after he left an frostbitten Indian climber to die just yards from his tent on Mt. Everest. Joe Simpson, author of Touching The Void, called the incident "as pernicious an example of pragmatic, self-serving callousness as I had ever heard in the mountains." Naar, who was leading the expedition, later wrote that he decided not to go to the climber's aid because a rescue attempt could have endangered his team and would likely have ended in the victim's death anyway.