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September 23, 2017

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Taiwan mountaineer dies while attempting to scale peak in Nepal

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Lee Hsiao-shih (李小石), a famous Taiwanese mountaineer known for always carrying a Mazu statue with him when climbing, yesterday passed away on Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world.

Lee's death was initially announced on Sunday by a trekking agency in Nepal, but an hour later, the agency told Lee's family that he was not dead but in a critical condition.

In response to the news that he was alive, Lee's wife, Lin Ching-ching (林青青), immediately booked a ticket to Nepal to take Lee home. She was informed later, however, that Lee was found dead at Lhotse camp 4 a.m. yesterday.

Lee, along with former deputy commissioner of Chiayi County's Department of Health Lu Han-yueh (呂漢岳) and Taiwanese mountaineer Lin Chuan-ming (林泉銘) departed Taiwan for Nepal on April 8 and arrived at Lhotse camp on April 19.

On the way to Lhotse, Lu assisted his companions in translation and helped Lee uploading photos on his social network page. However, Lu left the team due to health issues on April 28.

Lin conducted a challenging 6,189-meter climb, while Lee went with two Sherpa mountain guides to Lhotse.

Lu said a Nepal trekking agency, which accompanied Lee in Lhotse, informed him that Lee had successfully climbed to the top of the mountain on the evening of May 17, however as they descended Lee fainted due to exhaustion and bad weather.

Lin Ching-ching received a call from Lee's trekking companion, Lin Chuan-ming, while she was traveling to Kaohsiung International Airport yesterday. She said Lin told her that Lee was found dead at Lhotse's camp 4 in the morning and that Sherpa mountain guides were ready to take Lee off the mountain via helicopter.

The United Evening News quoted Lin Ching-ching as saying that Lee had told her several times that if he dies on a mountain, he wishes to be buried on the mountain. In light of this, Lin said they will likely leave his body on Lhotse.

Lee, 58, successfully climbed Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, in May 2009 and became the first Taiwanese mountaineer to reach the peak of Mount Everest with a Mazu statue.

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