A Kenyan climber has lost his life near the summit of Mount Everest and his Nepali guide is currently missing, according to a tourism official. This brings the total casualties for this season on the world's highest mountain to at least three.

Joshua Cheruiyot Kirui, aged 40, along with his Nepali guide Nawang Sherpa, aged 44, lost contact on Wednesday morning. A search team was dispatched to the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) high mountain.

Khim Lal Gautam, chief of the tourism's department field office at the base camp, informed AFP that the team discovered the deceased Kenyan climber between the summit and the Hillary Step. However, his guide is still unaccounted for.

Search efforts are ongoing for a 40-year-old British climber and a 21-year-old Nepali guide who have been missing since Tuesday morning following an ice fall collapse during their descent from Everest's peak.

Earlier this month, a Romanian climber passed away in his tent while attempting to ascend Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world. Everest and Lhotse share the same route until diverging at approximately 7,200 meters.

In addition, two Mongolian climbers went missing after reaching Everest's summit, and were later discovered deceased. Furthermore, two more climbers, one French and one Nepali, have lost their lives this season on Makalu, the world's fifth-highest peak.

This year, Nepal has issued over 900 permits for its mountains, including 419 for Everest, generating more than $5 million in royalties. More than 500 climbers and their guides have already reached the summit of Everest subsequent to a rope-fixing team reaching the peak last month.

In a significant development, China has reopened the Tibetan route to foreigners for the first time since closing it in 2020 due to the pandemic. Nepal, home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, attracts hundreds of adventurers each spring when temperatures are warm and winds are typically calm.

Last year, over 600 climbers successfully reached the summit of Everest, but it also marked the deadliest season on the mountain with 18 fatalities.