No ‘Easy’ Himalayan Trekking Peak: A British Climber Dies on Lobuche

That even modest trekking peaks in the Himalaya deserve the utmost respect became clear once again last week. Andrew James Clayton of the UK died at 5,000m in a high camp on Lobuche on November 6.

Clayton left camp in the morning with guide Tenji Sherpa and other climbers for the peak’s 6,119m summit. His deteriorating condition forced him back to the tent, according to The Himalayan Times.

“He was told to drop down to the [even lower] camp or call for evacuation, but Clayton said he was ok and planned to go to Everest Base Camp the next day with his guide Tenji,” expedition organizer Nirmal Purja reported, according to the paper. “He was ok till 4 pm and then he took a nap and never [woke up].”

There are no details on the climber’s previous Himalayan experience.

This is the third casualty on lesser Khumbu peaks this fall. Previously, Mingma Wangdi Sherpa and Jean-Marc Morschel of France died on Ama Dablam in separate incidents.

Beware of ‘easy’ climbs

The eastern summit of Lobuche is a popular trekking peak, or more commonly, an acclimatization peak. It is easier than the western summit of Lobuche, yet harder than other trekking mountains such as Island Peak or the taller Mera Peak. However, its location makes it a convenient first rotation for climbers on their way to Everest and Lhotse in spring and Ama Dablam in fall.

Lobuche is “also a great option for trekkers looking to spice up their trek a bit en route to [Everest] Base Camp,” Climbing the Seven Summits reports.

Rising in the heart of the Khumbu, it features amazing views from its summit. The normal route, mainly on snow, includes some steeper sections, but these days, the route is totally fixed. Lobuche East also has a false summit and a true summit slightly behind it. Reaching the very top involves some downclimbing (often rappelling), then following the ridge.

tents on a snow-rocky terrain at a plateau, imposing peaks in background.

Lobuche high camp in a previous season. Photo: Climbing the Seven Summits


Its convenience may have a darker side, though. Climbers are usually not acclimatized when they get to the mountain. They may also be in a hurry to summit and move on to their bigger goals. Accidents are uncommon in Lobuche, but altitude-related issues occur.

The accident took place two weeks ago, but the news was only released today since Elite Exped “refused to divulge details to the authorities,” The Himalayan Times said.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.