Spanish climber dies on Himalayan peak

AP News
Posted: May 27, 2013 1:45 PM

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish climber has died on the world's seventh highest mountain after falling and surviving for three nights without food or water, his family said Monday.

Juanjo Garra, 49, died on Dhaulagiri mountain in the Himalayas after rescue attempts failed to bring him down to an altitude where helicopters could land. The Sherpa who was climbing with him survived.

Using Garra's personal blog and Twitter account, his family said Garra and the Sherpa were stranded in heavy snow, strong winds and temperatures as low as minus 23 centigrade (minus 9 Fahrenheit).

In mourning Garra's death, the family wrote, "Juanjo stays in heaven."

Spanish state broadcaster RTVE also paid tribute to Garra, who had been a cameraman for its series "Al filo de lo impossible" ("On the edge of the impossible") for many years, often filming dangerous ascents to some of the world's most inaccessible peaks.

The broadcaster said on its website Monday that Garra died on the ninth mountain he had climbed that was at least 8,000 meters (26,260 feet) high.

According to the family, Garra and a Sherpa fell on Thursday while descending from Dhaulagiri's 8,167-meter (26,795-foot) summit, and the Spaniard was no longer able to walk.

"The news reaching us from Dhaulagiri is not what we expected," a Tweet on the family's account said Thursday. "Juanjo has suffered an accident and is trying to reach C3 (camp three)."

Shortly afterward, reports appeared in the Spanish media saying the climber was unable to descend and that a helicopter was heading to the mountain's base camp.

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News broke Friday that the helicopter was unable to land where Garra and the Sherpa were stranded, but that it had dropped three other Sherpas at a lower point, equipped with oxygen, water and clothing.

It took until Sunday for two of those Sherpas to reach the stranded climbers, but the Spaniard died soon afterward, the Garra family said in a tweet.

The rescuers helped the Garra's fellow Sherpa back down the mountain.

Miquel Angel Corts, a Garra family spokesman, said the dead climber's body would not be recovered from the mountain because such an effort would put the lives of others at risk.