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I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote

- Herman Melville


Nobukazu Kurikiimage

Athletes

May 22, 2018

Japanese Climber Nobukazu Kuriki, 35, Dies on Everest

While moving down from Camp III to Camp II on Everest, Nobukazu Kuriki went missing after sending a radio message to his guides for help.

WRITTEN BY

Justin Hussong

Sherpa climbers found Kuriki dead at his camp.

During Nobukazu Kuriki’s eighth attempt at climbing Mount Everest, the Japanese climber sent out a radio message to his camping guides while located between Camp II and Camp III on the mountain. Unfortunately, it was the last anyone ever heard from him.

Kuriki went missing since 11:30 pm following his message to the guides. Rescuers were able to retrieve his body around 7,200m by Camp II, according to his guide, Ashish Gurung. Kuriki, age 35, was pronounced dead last night May 20, 2018. His body is being returned to Kathmandu.

This was the second death on Everest in recent days, as a Macedonian climber passed away descending Everest on Sunday. Kuriki is another big name in the climbing community to die on Everest, and the third to die since this Everest season opened.

World-renown Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck died in 2017 due to an accident while climbing in the Khumbu region, training for an alpine-style Everest climb. Steck, also known as the “Swiss Machine,” was one of the best climbers in the world.

The Outdoor Journal has covered Kuriki before, most notably during 2015 when he became one of the first climbers to receive a climbing permit following the earthquake in Nepal, which claimed over 9,000 lives and 19 on Everest itself.

“The main purpose of my climb is to spread the message that Nepal was safe for climbers and trekkers even after the earthquake,” Kuriki told reporters.

According to Kuriki’s climbing guide, he was asking for help due to suffering from a persistent cough and pain, which he documented on his Facebook page. “I am here at 7,400 metres now. Now, I feel the pain and difficulty in this Mountain and I’m up and up. I want to make it very carefully,” one of his final posts read. Unfortunately, the team was unable to locate him once the radio disconnected.

Kuriki left a final post on his Instagram account, translated into English below.

Translation:

“Everyone, namaste. I am now at 7400m.

I am now feeling this suffering and difficulty of the Everest, and with appreciation, I’m climbing.

I want to do this (accomplish) very carefully.

Everyone, thank you so much for your support.

I hope that this post will be helpful for people who, just like me, are taking a challenge in life.

I wish I could climb together with everyone. Thank you for your support.

#challengeofthewallofdenial #everest #everest #himalayas #challengeofthewallcalleddenial”

Kuriki had a long history on the mountain. Kuriki was unable to finish his eighth Everest climb, a mountain that claimed nine of his digits back in 2012 due to severe frostbite. Despite the tragedy, Kuriki returned to Everest once again in 2015.

Kuriki took to the mountain with a full film crew as well as four high altitude workers alongside him. He was attempting to climb Everest all by himself from the West Ridge route without the use of supplemental oxygen. Kuriki reportedly made it back down to Camp III before finally asking for help.

While Kuriki was unable to complete an Everest climb in his eight attempts (the seven previous attempts all took place in autumn, while spring season is the most popular time to climb), his resume includes successful climbs of Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Dhaulaguiri, and many others.

Kuriki’s official cause of death is still unknown, but The Outdoor Journal will provide updates as more information surfaces.

 

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Events

Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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