Expedition Watch: Climbing Everest's West Ridge Without Supplemental Oxygen

542058_462495363793514_145950108_nNobukazu Kuriki on Everest. Photo: Nobukazu Kuriki/Facebook

On Tuesday, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki’s Twitter account said he set off for Camp IV in his attempt to summit Mount Everest via the West Ridge. It was a short announcement that has not gotten a lot of media attention, but if he summits, his feat will be one of the most impressive climbs in recent history.

Kuriki is ascending one of the mountain's most difficult routes, the West Ridge path first completed by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld in 1963, which has only seen five total people summit. He has received some support from Sherpas—Kraig Becker reported that they guided him through the Khumbu Icefall, fixed his ropes, and resupplied his high camps. Otherwise, he is climbing alone, without the aid of supplemental oxygen. "Well, that’s huge," said Jake Norton. "No other way to put it. If he pulls it off, I’d say it’ll be one of the more impressive ascents of Everest, akin to Messner’s 1980 oxygen-less solo on a semi-new route on the North Side. Kuriki isn’t solo, but he’s on a far harder route, alone above Camp II with no O’s and massive climbing ahead. Definitely ballsy."

If the weather cooperates, he could go for the summit in the next couple of days and will share his results as soon as possible. Here’s a bit more on his quest, in case you want to follow along.

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