Everest Diary

American Doctor Jonathan Sugarman Died In Everest Expedition

There are several things to prepare and consider before climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. The altitude can play a villain in expeditions since it stands at 8,849 meters above sea level. Mountaineers are prone to altitude sickness and related issues like AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), HACE(High Altitude Celebral Edema), and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). Altitude sickness is a common issue while climbing Mount Everest and it became the reason of the end to Jonathan Sugarman’s life. On May 1, 2023, retired doctor Jonathan Sugarman lost his life due to altitude related issues in Camp II. The death came during the acclimatization ascent to Mount Everest.

While attempting the summit, Sugarman was aligned with Washington state-based International Mountain Guides (IMG) with Beyul Adventure. However, he began to feel unwell, eventually losing his life to altitude sickness. According to the Manager of Beyul Adventure, Mohan Kafle, Jonathan was in his acclimatization rotation at Camp II. It was his second attempt to climb Mount Everest. A year back in 2022, he came to Nepal and reached Camp III of Everest, the world’s highest peak. As the first attempt went as planned, he returned to Nepal with the motive of climbing the peak again. However, he met with a tragic demise.

As per the initial reports, the rescue campaign was launched though the extreme weather hampered the situation.

In 1997, an image captures Jonathan Sugarman alongside his wife Terese and their daughter Maya.
In 1997, an image captured Jonathan Sugarman alongside his wife Terese and their daughter Maya.

The International Mountain Guides (IMG) also published an article about their client’s death on Mount Everest. However, no identity was revealed. They wrote, ‘We can confirm that this event was not the result of a climbing accident or route condition that would be of potential impact or safety concern to any other teams on the mountain. The rest of the IMG climbing team is doing as well as expected given the circumstances.’

Jonathan Sugarman, a Seattle native, was a retired doctor, and his expeditions in Nepal’s Himalayas were praiseworthy. Aside from his attempts at Mount Everest, he also climbed Lobuche (6,119 meters) and Island Peak (6,165 meters). Reports claim that with the help of IMG, he came to Nepal in April, reaching the Khumbu Valley. It was reported that on April 10, the group he had been with reached Everest Base Camp. They commenced their journey to Everest after week-long training in nearby peaks. On April 29, the group started climbing up from the Base Camp to Camp I. The next day, half of their team made it to Camp II while the other half crew remained at Camp I. The plan was to climb to Camp 3 on May 2; however, the tragic mishap occurred as Jonathan Sugarman started catching the symptoms of unwellness at a high altitude.

Reports cited that the rescue teams attempted to bring his body to a lower altitude on May 2. Jonathan had a history of HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). While climbing Cho Oyu in 2016, the retired doctor suffered from the HAPE, which forced him to shut down the campaign. He reached Camp 1 when he suffered the sickness.

Maya Sugarman Reflecting on Good Times Spent with her Father
Maya Sugarman Reflecting on Good Times Spent with her Father

Jonathan, who was survived by his wife, Teresa Sullivan, and daughter, Maya Sugarman, used to climb during his college days. However, he quit climbing after finding out the reports of a wide range of people dying while mountaineering. Decades later, he returned to mountain climbing as his friend invited him to scale up Mount Kilimanjaro. Since then, his journey restarted in the snowy peaks of the world. He also climbed Aconcagua in Argentina, Denali in Alaska, Cayambe, and Chimborazo before attempting Mount Everest in 2022 and 2023.

It marked the fourth death on Mount Everest in 2023. Previously, in April, three sherpas, Tenjing Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, and Badure Sherpa, all working for Imagine Nepal, lost their life to an avalanche in Khumbu (Read more: First Ever Deaths In Everest in 2023). They fell to crevasses and was buried after a huge ice sheets fell from the mountain.

American Doctor Jonathan Sugarman pictured on a climb.

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Kishor Shahi

Kishor is an accomplished writer specializing in Technical, Travel, and Affiliate blogging. With a strong foundation in On-Page and Off-Page SEO, he excels in optimizing content for maximum visibility and impact. Furthermore, Kishor is proficient Google Ads and SEM, known for creating audience driving campaigns. His expertise extends to Google Analytics and HubSpot, enabling data-driven decisions and effective content strategies.

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