• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Australian Jason Kennison last photo before Mount Everest death

The last photo Australian man Jason Kennison posted on Instagram before his death was his view from Camp 2 on Mount Everest.

The photo uploaded on May 4 was just weeks before the 40-year-old died climbing the world’s highest mountain in the Himalaya mountain range. He had also posted a photo from Camp 1.

His expedition organiser Asian Trekking said on Sunday he died after becoming unwell on Friday.

The South Australian, who had been living in Perth, became “unresponsive” at the summit and was brought down to the Balcony area below the peak, Asian Trekking chief Dawa Steven Sherpa told AFP.

“Since the oxygen cylinders that they had with them were running out, they decided to descend to Camp 4 hoping to climb back again with oxygen cylinders to rescue him,” Sherpa said.

“It was high wind and bad weather that prevented them (from) going back to bring him down. He died at the Balcony area.”

A family statement on Facebook said Mr Kennison had achieved his goal of reaching the peak but sadly didn’t come home.

“He was the most courageous, adventurous human we knew and he will be forever missed,” the post said.

A friend described Mr Kennison as a “very good guy with a kind heart” and said “he died doing something he was passionate about”.

Mr Kennison had to learn to walk again following a car crash in 2006, and endured a lengthy recovery that saw him battle depression for a year before he began to regain some function in his arms and legs.

Years later he suffered further spinal nerve damage but remained committed to completing the climb to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

On his fundraising page, Mr Kennison said he would attempt to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp “and hope to continue to higher camps of the mountain” from there.

“Whilst I wish to complete the ascent to challenge myself both mentally and physically, my main reason is to raise funds and awareness for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, to help people living with spinal cord injury to live their best life,” he wrote.

He described the climb as “a huge undertaking”.

An update from Mr Kennison while at base camp, posted by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia on May 10, said they were waiting for a safe weather window on the summit to start their final push.

“The plan is [to] utilise supplemental oxygen from camp 3, up through camp 4 to the 8848m high summit and back,” he said.

“I would like to thank all those who have donated so far, it means a lot that not only friends, but strangers have donated to SCIA.

“With one final push, I expect [it] to be one of the toughest challenges in my life to date, I encourage people to help out and donate to SCIA, no matter how big or small.”

Mr Kennison’s death is the sixth among non-Nepalis while four Sherpas have lost their lives on Everest in this year’s climbing season.

On average, five climbers die every spring climbing season on Everest. But in 2019, 11 people died, with four of the deaths blamed on overcrowding on the mountain.

Nearly 450 climbers have already climbed Mount Everest this season, according to Nepal’s tourism department.

It has issued 478 permits to foreign climbers this year, with each paying an $11,000 fee.

Since most will need a guide, more than 900 people — a record — were expected to try to summit during the season, which runs until early June.

– with AFP

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