Aussie climber plunges to death in Nepal
An Australian climber has fallen to his death in a freak accident while descending a peak near Mount Everest in eastern Nepal.
Newcastle resident Michael Geoffrey Davis, 33, died on Ama Dablam mountain on Thursday while part of a group of 15 that was going down the 6812m Himalayan peak.
The accident had occurred when the climbers were descending from the camp after a strong wind.
The former Ausgrid engineer plunged to his death after a huge rock fell and damaged ropes he was using to descend the mountain, the Himalayan Timesreported.
No one else was hurt.
An aerial rescue operation was carried out and Mr Davis's body was flown to Kathmandu for a post-mortem, Top Himalaya Guides managing director Tshering Pande Bhote told the newspaper.
It was Mr Davis' first trip to the world's highest mountain range, but he had climbed two other peaks earlier in the five-week expedition, according to the Newcastle Herald.
Mr Davis posted a handful of photos on Facebook on October 29 after arriving in Nepal, saying he was "very excited" about his expedition.
"So I've just started 5 week expedition to climb Nepal's prettiest peak Ama Dablam. After nine months of on and off training it's finally begun. Very excited."
Mr Davis' family will reportedly travel to Nepal today to bring his body home.
His sister-in-law, Kobie Davis, said on Sunday that the family had spoken to a Norwegian doctor who was climbing with the group at the time of the accident.
"He said Michael had double safety ropes all connected," she said.
"He kind of indicated the rock hit Michael as well as cutting the rope.
"He was there when it happened and accompanied his body back to Kathmandu."
Mr Davis reportedly went to St Mary's School at Gateshead and St Francis Xavier's College and was a graduate of the University of Newcastle, where he was a member of the campus mountaineering club.
Meanwhile, friends and family have taken to social media to pay tribute to the adventurer with the "infectious smile".
"Very sad to hear mountaineering club member Michael Geoffrey Davis passed away on Ama Dablam in Nepal," friend Declan Verlin wrote.
"I'm glad I had the pleasure to go climbing and hiking with Michael and will always remember his infectious smile and positive vibes that you couldn't help but be absorbed by. The good die young. My thoughts are with his family."
Another friend, Dean Spong, said the 33-year-old had a unique "zest for life".
"The world wakes a sadder place today. Our mate Michael has left us doing what he loved, conquering the nooks and crannies of the world most of us only dream about," Mr Spong wrote.
"Your endearing quirks and zest for life made you a truly unique character that had the ability to make life easy and fun when you were around. Your impact on us all is immeasurable. We'll miss you mate."
Queenslander Francesco Enrico Marchetti, 54, died of suspected altitude sickness while trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest in May last year.
Mr Marchetti fell ill at an altitude of 8300 metres, about 500m below the 8848m peak of the world's tallest mountain.
Matthew Jones, a Melbourne father of two, died while trekking in Nepal in March last year. Jones experienced breathing difficulties on the 5300m descent when he died.