Elite Sherpa Dies in Fall on Everest

'Icefall Doctor' is the first casualty this year

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Climbers working through the icefall.     Photo: Grayson Schaffer

Reports are coming back that a highly experienced Nepalese Sherpa has died in the Khumbu Icefall while setting ropes for the upcoming climbing season. Mingmar Sherpa, 45, was what is known as an "Icefall Doctor," a member of an elite and respected team responsible for maintaining the route up Everest. Although the position is extremely dangerous, an Icefall Doctor has never before died on the mountain.

According to Garrett Madison, the head guide for Alpine Ascents International Mountain Climbing, Mingma Sherpa was descending from Camp II when he slipped and fell into a crevasse. No one else was injured.

The death is the first of the year on Everest, following a 2012 season that became one of the deadliest in recent memory.

For more on Icefall Doctors and life on Everest, read Kevin Fedarko's feature story High Times.

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