NICOLE NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
According to news sources, Dr. Roland Yearwood, 50, died early Sunday morning May 21 attempting to climb Mount Everest. Dr. Yearwood died near the balcony area at 8,400 meters or 27,500 feet high above sea level. It is unsure if he was on his way up or down from the summit.
Dr. Yearwood was part of a 16-member team led by American climber Dan Mazur that was climbing the normal Southeast Ridge route from the Nepal side of the mountain.
In 2015, Dr. Yearwood tried to climb the Tibetan side of Mount Everest when an earthquake struck the Nepal area, resulting in nearly 9,000 deaths. Reports indicate 18-19 people on of the expedition were killed. He and part of his group survived the incident and descended to base camp, where a helicopter rescued them.
His wife, Amrita Yearwood who is also a physician, told Al.com after the event, “He is always calm; he does a lot of sports. He is adventurous. He doesn’t get freaked out.”
Dr. Yearwood was a doctor at Georgiana Medical Center in Alabama and was part of a team led by American climber Daniel Mazur for the expedition firm SummitClimb, according to its Nepal-based partner, Murari K. Sharma.
He perished in an area called “death zone,” which is known for thin air, Murari Sharma of the Everest Parivar trekking company, located in Kathmandu, Nepal, told Reuters
Dr. Yearwood was trained as a doctor in London and New York and eventually settled in Georgiana where he was a primary care physician for the past 20 years.
Climbing Everest is an inherently dangerous activity with risks of sicknesses related to high altitude such as cerebral edema, a swelling of the brain that can be fatal. Every spring climbing season in recent years has claimed lives, with more than 280 dying over the years.
Permits to climb Mount Everest normally cost $11,000.
Yearwood’s death is the third this month with reports indicating five deaths have occurred since climbing season began in March, one is still missing.
The Nepalese Tourism Department issued a record 371 permits this year to people to scale the mountain. The increased number of climbers this year is due to the number of people who were unable to climb in 2014 and 2015, when deadly avalanches disrupted the climbing seasons.