Mount Everest Climber Dies

Published June 05, 2005

| Associated Press

A climber from Scotland collapsed and died Sunday as he was within a quarter-mile of reaching the summit of Mount Everest (search), Nepalese officials said in reporting the third death this year on the world's highest mountain.

Robert William Milne, a 49-year-old software engineer from Edinburgh (search), Scotland, was about 1,200 feet from the 29,035-foot summit when he died, said Mountaineering Department official Umesh Singh.

Milne and a Sherpa (search) guide were heading toward the summit when the climber suddenly collapsed and died, Singh said. The guide returned to the camp to report the death.

Officials said they will know more details only when the remaining climbers return to the base camp.

Milne was the third person this year to die trying to scale Everest. Last month, an American climber died after falling into a crevasse, and a Canadian mountaineer died of an apparent heart attack.

Earlier, officials said an American lawyer and two Nepalese Sherpa guides scaled Mount Everest on Sunday, becoming possibly the last climbers to reach the peak this season.

Claybourne Fox Clarke, a New Mexico attorney accompanied by Nepalese Sherpa guides Tenji, 23, and Lakpa, 25, reached the summit at 10 a.m. local time.

Climbing season on Everest traditionally ends May 31, as warming temperatures make the snow soft and dangerous for climbers.

The season was marred by bad weather, but after a late improvement in conditions climbers agreed to keep the route open until Sunday, when they had to descend to the base camp to pack up a series of ladders spread across Khumbu Icefall — a dangerous section of ice blocks with deep crevasses.

About 94 climbers have scaled the peak since Monday from the Nepalese side of the mountain on the south. Several climbers also climbed from the Chinese side on the north.

Since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first scaled Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, more than 1,400 climbers have reached the peak. About 180 people have died trying.

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