A Kenyan and a Nepali climber have tragically lost their lives in close proximity to the summit of Mount Everest, according to tourism officials. This brings the total fatalities for this season on the world's highest mountain to at least four.

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, aged 40, and his Nepali guide Nawang Sherpa, aged 44, lost contact on Wednesday morning, prompting the deployment of a search team to the 8,849-metre (29,032-foot) high mountain. Khim Lal Gautam, head of the tourism department's field office at the base camp, reported, 'The team has discovered the lifeless body of the Kenyan climber positioned between the summit and the Hillary Step, while his guide remains unaccounted for.'

Additionally, another Nepali climber, Binod Babu Bastakoti, aged 37, passed away at approximately 8,200 metres (26,902 feet) on Wednesday, as stated by the tourism department.

Search operations are ongoing for a 40-year-old British climber and his Nepali guide, who went missing on Tuesday morning following a snow mass collapse during their descent from Everest's peak. Furthermore, a Romanian climber perished in his tent on Monday while attempting to scale Lhotse, the world's fourth-highest mountain, which shares the same route as Everest until diverging at around 7,200 metres.

In addition to these incidents, two Mongolian climbers were reported missing earlier this month after successfully reaching Everest's summit, but were subsequently discovered deceased. This season has also seen the loss of two other climbers – one French and one Nepali – on Makalu, the world's fifth-highest peak.

Nepal has granted over 900 permits for its mountains this year, including 419 for Everest, resulting in royalties exceeding $5 million. Over 500 climbers and their guides have already conquered the summit of Everest, following the recent completion of the rope-fixing task. Meanwhile, China reopened the Tibetan route to foreigners this year, marking its first year of operation since closing in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Renowned for housing eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, Nepal welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring, drawn by the warm temperatures and generally calm winds. While more than 600 climbers successfully reached the summit of Everest last year, it was also the deadliest season on record, with 18 fatalities.