69-year-old Seattle man dies while climbing Mt. Everest

May 2, 2023, 5:33 PM | Updated: May 3, 2023, 9:22 am

mt. everest...

Mt. Everest is the world's tallest mountain at 29,031 feet. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A retired Seattle doctor has died while climbing Mt. Everest.

According to Outside Magazine, 69-year-old Johnathan Sugarman died while ascending the world’s highest peak. He was the first American to die on Everest this year. Four people have died during climbs this year.

Sugarman was part of a group led by Pierce County-based International Mountain Guides (IMG). They were at Camp 2 at 21,000 feet when he was reportedly not feeling well.

His cause of death is currently unknown as of this reporting.

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Sugarman was an experienced mountaineer who successfully ascended Aconcagua in Argentina, Denali in Alaska, and Cotopaxi in Ecuador. This was his second attempt at Everest after turning back at 24,000 feet last year.

“I climbed when I was in college, but quit cold turkey when I found myself doing something that had resulted in recent deaths. I realized that I was not appropriately concerned,” Sugarman said in an interview years ago. “I dragged around a climbing rope, harness, and rack for years, though.”

After giving up the sport for decades, he had recently taken it up again and officials said he was well prepared for the climb.

IMG founder Eric Simonson said the death was not caused by a climbing accident or route conditions that could impact the safety of other climbers.

“The rest of the IMG climbing team is all doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances,” Simonson said.

Sugarman and fellow climbers arrived at base camp on April 10, according to the guiding company’s website. They began moving up the 30,000-foot mountain on April 29.

The deadliest avalanche in U.S. history occurred at Stevens Pass

Last September, Seattle native ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson died after she fell into a crevasse during an expedition in Nepal.

She had reached the top of Manaslu, the eighth tallest mountain in the world at 26,781 feet. An avalanche reportedly swept her off a cliff onto the south face of the mountain.

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69-year-old Seattle man dies while climbing Mt. Everest