KATHMANDU – The body of a Peruvian climber who was found dead earlier this week on Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest mountain, was on Friday airlifted to Kathmandu for his last rites in the Nepalese capital.
Mingma Sherpa, the managing director of Seven Summit Treks – the agency that organized Richard Hidalgo’s expedition – told EFE that the body of the 52-year-old climber would be handed over to the Peruvian consulate after an autopsy was performed at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.
The honorary consul at the Peruvian consulate in Kathmandu, Sumit Kumar Agarwal, told EFE that the body would be cremated at Pashupati Aryaghat in Kathmandu following the traditional Hindu ritual.
The hospital is expected to hand over his remains on Saturday morning, Agarwal said.
“A representative from Peru will arrive in Nepal tomorrow (Saturday) with an official letter to cremate his body as per the Hindu ritual,” he said.
Agarwal, however, did not confirm the scheduled date for Hidalgo’s last rites.
Hidalgo was found dead in his tent at an altitude of 6,600 meters (21,654 feet) by high-altitude Sherpa guides who went to check after he did not wake up on Wednesday.
Due to a lack of funds, the expedition’s organizer was unable to airlift the body of the accomplished climber.
The Peruvian consulate in Kathmandu and Hidalgo’s friends, however, requested the organizer bring the body back from the high-altitude mountain.
Mingma Sherpa said the cost to bring the body to Kathmandu stood at $22,000.
“His insurance will cover a part of the cost, while his friends in Peru have informed us that they would pay the rest,” said the organizer.
Hidalgo was climbing the 8,481-meter high Mount Makalu – located to the southeast of Mount Everest with the shape of a four-sided pyramid – as part of a mission to summit the 14 highest mountains in the world without supplementary oxygen by 2021 to mark the bicentennial of Peru’s independence, according to the expedition’s organizer.
Two weeks ago, a Malaysian climber was rescued from Mount Annapurna after spending two nights in the open, close to the summit. He later died at a hospital in Singapore.
According to the Department of Tourism, 842 climbers have been cleared to climb different mountains, including Mt Everest, in Nepal this spring.
There are 378 climbers hoping to summit the world’s highest peak this season, which is expected to begin next week.