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This Man Is About To Reach The Top Of Mt Everest And Only Has One Finger

"This is the purest form of climbing and it is worth the extra danger."

Posted on September 26, 2015, at 1:19 p.m. ET

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, neared Mount Everest's summit Saturday, according to contact made with him while he was resting before the last stretch at the Southern Col.

This is Kuriki's fifth attempt to reach Mount Everest's highest peak in the past six years. He has been forced to turn back four times with the summit in sight due to dangerous conditions, he told National Geographic in July.

He is the first person to attempt the climb since Nepal's catastrophic earthquake in April, which killed 9,000 people in Nepal, and 18 people at Everest's base camp.

"I am climbing the mountain to stand by Nepal during this difficult time, and to spread the message that it is safe for tourism," Kuriki told reporters when he first arrived in Nepal in July to acclimate before his climb.

He told Reuters that he felt nervous and afraid upon arriving in Nepal, but that this was "only natural before attempting the challenge of climbing Everest, particularly after the earthquake and at this time of year.

In 2012, Kuriki lost nine fingers after spending two days in a hole he dug in the snow at 27,000 feet in temperatures lower than -4F.

Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

Kuriki will rest at the South Col for around eight hours before taking off on the last leg of the journey, the BBC reported. Taking on the final stretch overnight is a common tactic, president of the Nepalese Mountaineering Association Ang Tsering said. It allows them to descend the mountain in daylight, he said, and lower temperatures at night mean fewer winds. The NMA did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

The mountaineer originally planned to climb Everest beginning in Tibet, but China closed all mountains to expeditions for the fall season. Kuriki is the only person scheduled to climb Everest during the fall, a season known to be particularly dangerous for climbing expeditions.

Just 33% of climbers scale Mt. Everest successfully in the fall months, according to the Himalayan Database, compared to 66% in spring. Over the past 15 years only three expeditions have reached the summit successfully in the fall.

Mount Everest is known as the most dangerous mountain to climb in the world. There have been over 250 recorded casualties of the climb.

Kuriki has said in past interviews he prefers to climb alone, with minimal gear, and most of all, in the winter. "This is the purest form of climbing and it is worth the extra danger," he said.

Everest Base Camp after April's earthquakes.
Roberto Schmidt / AFP / Getty Images

Everest Base Camp after April's earthquakes.

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