The year stated off on a low-note for the climbing community with some very unfortunate and tragic accidents.
(1) On Kilimanjaro, famous Irish climber Ian McKeever was killed by a lightening strike. More can be read at this link. McKeever has been climbing for a long time, and had the Seven Summits accomplishment under his belt. News of the accident, as announced on his Facebook page:
It is with deep regret, that we, Ian’s family, fiancee Anna and friends, advise of his sudden death on Kilimanjaro, today, doing what he loved best
(2) Two American climbers, David Reinhart and Eric Nourse, died while climbing Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. As one of the highest points on Earth yet one of the “easier” of the seven summits climbs, many folks attempt Aconcagua every year. In this case, the word is that Reinhart died of altitude sickness (though I haven’t seen anything on Nourse). According to some posts over at SummitPost, the route they had chosen didn’t allow them to retreat, they had to complete the traverse to get down the other side of the mountain. Per this article, Nourse died while him and his brother were attempting to get help for the stricken Reinhart.
Both of the above stories are sad and tragic. It’s a reminder to anyone who climbs or even thinks of climbing that there is inherent risk involved. I don’t have any knowledge of whether either of these accidents were avoidable (outside of just not climbing). No matter the cause, there are always lessons to be learned and internalized.