Former Nepalese Foreign Minister, American Die Climbing Mt. Everest

May 10, 2011

Nepal's former Foreign Minister, Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay, fell ill and died while returning to Base Camp in Nepal. The Himalayan Times says Upadhyay was 82 and was trying to become the oldest person to summit the peak.

He wished to 'prove that even elderly people are capable of climbing mountains... Mountaineering is often associated with physical strength but one has to be mentally strong," Upadhyay told the Times. The BBC has his obituary, including his service as Nepal's UN Representative.

Upadhyay's death is the second on Everest this climbing season. Last week, American climber Rick Hitch was closing in on Camp Three when he collapsed and died. AP reports Hitch blogged about thinning air and experiencing powerful winds of 50 to 70 miles per hour, along with his increasing fatigue.

TV New Zealand is tracking Kiwi climber Grant Rawlinson who's already experienced one instance of dangerous altitude sickness on Everest; last week, Rawlinson says he descended after falling ill. He's back, and is now trying to climb Everest from the more difficult north face. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit