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American Doctor Dies on Everest

Dr. Jonathan Reuel Sugarman was an experienced mountaineer.

everest base camp with colorful tentsEverest base camp; (photo/Shutterstock)
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Mount Everest has claimed its fourth life of the 2023 climbing season. Jonathan Reuel Sugarman, a retired doctor who had practiced in the Seattle area, perished on May 1 at Camp Two, Everest expert Alan Arnette reported in his blog.

Sugarman, 69, was climbing as part of a guided group with Washington-based International Mountain Guides and, according to Arnette, had been “feeling well” after “training diligently” for the ascent. A statement obtained from the Embassy of the United States by CNN confirmed Sugarman’s death on the mountain.

“The Embassy is in contact with Dr. Sugarman’s family and with local authorities. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we cannot comment further,” the Embassy stated.

Pasang Sherpa told the outlet that Sugarman’s body remained at Camp Two “with the rest of the climbing team.” The camp perches just below 21,000 feet of altitude on Everest, just past the Khumbu Icefall. It’s a well-established camp and an acclimatization landmark for many climbers; it’s typically the highest point before supplemental oxygen comes into play.

Sugarman’s death is the season’s fourth on Everest after a collapsed serac in the Khumbu Icefall buried three Sherpas on April 12. Nepal issued a record 466 Everest summit permits this year, which has led to growing concerns of crowding, ExplorersWeb’s Angela Benavides reported.

Sugarman’s previous experience included an ascent to Everest Camp Three last year, according to Arnette. His resume also included ascents of Mount Rainier and Ecuador’s Cotopaxi. Arnette noted Sugarman was “widely respected” for his humanitarian efforts as a doctor, which included work with the Indian Health Service in Shiprock, N.M.

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