A search and rescue operation involving several teams is underway around the Mount Everest Summit to trace an Indian-origin Singaporean climber who has been missing since Saturday.
Teams consisting of three Sherpas each have been searching for Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya (39), according to Prakash Chandra Devkota, the owner of Nepal Guide Treks and Expedition.
Seven Summit Treks, a Nepal-based adventure travel operator, had organised Mr Dattatraya’s Everest ascent.
Mr Devkota also shared photographs of the climber reaching the summit last Friday before he went missing, reported The Straits Times on Tuesday.
In the photos, Mr Dattatraya, a senior manager for software engineering at real estate tech firm JLL Technologies, is seen wearing a bright orange winter wear, sunglasses and an oxygen mask. He is surrounded by colourful prayer flags marking the 8,849 m summit.
He is clutching a rope with his right hand, and stands upright on the peak.
In another picture, the climber lies on his back and is surrounded by three others in similar mountain climbing wear. One of them snaps a shot of him with a smartphone.
He last sent a text message to his wife Sushma Soma, 36, on Friday, saying he had reached Everest’s summit. He told her he had high-altitude cerebral oedema (or hace) — a severe high altitude illness that could prove fatal — and was not likely to make it back down, according to the Singapore broadsheet report.
Soma, a musician, learnt at 2 am on Saturday that the two Sherpas he was with, and another climber in the group, made it down from the mountain, but her husband never did.
Mr Devkota said one of the Sherpas, Dendi, had tried to save Mr Dattatraya, but he did not give more details. He added that Dendi had suffered frostbite to his fingers and was hospitalised.
Talking further about the climber, the Nepal Guide Treks and Expedition owner said Dattatraya was his good friend, and he had joined them on previous climbs, including a 2021 expedition to the 8,163 m Manaslu peak in Nepal, but “this time is so bad”. He did not elaborate further when asked what had happened.
In an Instagram story on Monday, Soma said the search and rescue mission was ongoing. “Thank you all for all your (messages). We are grateful for your love and concern,” she said.
At least 11 climbers have died so far this climbing season on Mount Everest, and at least two, including Dattatraya, are missing.
Sim Phei Sunn, 47, a public servant, reached the summit in May 2019. She recalled seeing corpses there. She said within the mountaineering community, they have noticed more inexperienced climbers on Everest, which might have contributed to the higher death toll.
Recalling her 2019 expedition, she said, “You can see people wearing their helmets the wrong way, and putting their crampons (spikes attached to climbing boots) on the wrong feet, which shows they should not be there.” She said established companies usually screen climbers before planning an expedition by looking at their climbing record. This includes the mountains they have scaled, which sports they do and their overall fitness level.
But she said in recent years, more low-cost operators have entered the market, and they are unlikely to turn away inexperienced clients.
Sim recommends hopefuls to spend a few years scaling 6,000 m to 8,000m mountains as well as training in different terrains, including in alpine conditions with ice and snow.
She said, “You train before you go to Everest – you do not go to Everest to train.”