Japanese alpinist Nobukazu Kuriki is on a summit expedition to prove that Mount Everest is climbable, and he plans to attempt to summit this week, according to Adventure Journal. As Outside reported in April, an earthquake in Nepal left 9,000 people dead, including 22 on Everest, and many experts have since concluded that the mountain would be unsafe to climb for at least a year. Kuriki, however, is currently acclimatizing to the 21,000-foot elevation of Camp II and plans to make a push for the summit within the next few days.
“I am climbing the mountain to stand by Nepal during this difficult time and to spread the message that it is safe for tourism,” Kuriki said at a press conference in Nepal in August.
This is Kuriki’s fifth attempt to summit Everest. During previous attempts, he was interrupted by the weather, was on a team that suffered a fatality, had his food and supplies stolen by a crow, and found himself stuck in a snow cave during a storm, which resulted in frostbite and the loss of nine fingers.
“Of course it’s scary, but nature is frightening,” Kuriki said in August, according to NBC.
Not everyone believes he will make it or that attempting to summit right now is the right decision. Journalist Elizabeth Hawley, who records all Himalayan climbs, characterized Kuriki’s solo mission as “crazy” and said the tourism ministry’s support is an effort draw people back to Nepal.
“They will latch onto anything right now,” she told Adventure Journal, “to get people to come back.”