Klein’s partner, Szilárd Suhajda, turned back on Wednesday morning after falling ill the night before. He reached the 6500-meter mark before retreating back down to 5344 meters.
The two climbers were attempting to climb Everest without oxygen tanks, a feat no Hungarian has accomplished before. They began their ascent three days ago, on May 23rd, but arrived at the south side of Mount Everest on April 7th in order to have time to acclimate their bodies to higher altitudes and lower oxygen levels.
According to a statement by the expedition, Klein was grounded at 8,000 metres due to extreme and unpredictable weather and was forced to stop at 8,115 metres due to high winds.
Klein and his two sherpas turned back to the nearest base camp to save their lives, from where they started making their way to “lower heights”, the statement said.
The decision to turn back was undoubtedly a wise one, considering the fact that already this year, six (or perhaps ten) climbers have already perished on the world’s highest mountain, including legendary Swiss climber Ueli Steck. And attempting to climb Everest is inherently an extremely dangerous proposition in any year; as the BBC notes
More than 200 people have died on Everest since 1920, with the vast majority of those deaths taking place since 1980. In fact, to find the last year without any known deaths, you have to go back to 1977.
The Hungarian Everest Expedition was Klein’s third major attempt to summit Mount Everest without the aid of oxygen tanks; he reached 8600 meters in 2007, and 8700 meters in 2014. each time he was forced to turn back, each time tantalizingly close yet agonizingly far from the 8,848-meter summit.
Via MTI, Everest Expedíció Facebook page, rtl.hu, everestexpedicio.hu, NPR, and the BBC