Icelanders’ Remains Found in Nepal After 30 Years Skip to content
Mount Pumori
Photo: Mount Pumori, 7,161m (23, 494ft), is located on the Nepal-Tibet border 8km west of Mount Everest..

Icelanders’ Remains Found in Nepal After 30 Years

The bodies of two Icelandic mountaineers who died on an expedition in Nepal in 1988 have been discovered, reports. Kristinn Rúnarsson and Þorsteinn Guðjónsson died on an expedition up Mount Pumori, 7,161m (23, 494ft), in October of 1988. The two climbers were 27 years old.

An American mountaineer came across the two bodies recently, discovering their nationality when he searched for their ID. “This is good and difficult news,” stated Anna Lára Friðriksdóttir, a friend of the deceased. She says the families of the two men held a memorial for them on November 26, 1988. “It would have been good for the parents to get to bury their children. It’s like when you lose someone at sea, there was just a memorial then[…]now it’s possible to close the case and that’s very good for their relatives.”

The expedition

Kristinn and Þorsteinn set off from London on September 17, 1988 to climb Mount Pumori. They were accompanied by Icelander Jón Geirsson and Stephen Aistrope, from Scotland. On October 2-3, the group set up base camp on Pumori around an elevation of 5,000m. On October 15, Jón left the expedition due to lung abscess. On October 17, Kristinn and Þorsteinn began their ascent from the base camp. Steve, who had come down with stomach flu, stayed behind. On October 18, Steve saw Kristinn and Þorsteinn through binoculars around an elevation of 6,600-6,700m before they disappeared from sight.

“They were good guys and great companions,” Jón said of the deceased in a recent interview. “They were ‘original’ and wanted to wear traditional Icelandic sweaters rather than the modern gear that most other people climbed in.” While reports of the young men’s disappearance in 1988 assumed they had died on their way up the mountain, Jón says it’s possible the two had reached the peak and were in fact on their way down. A climber from an Australian expedition reported seeing the two very close to the peak.

Ari Gunnarsson is the only Icelander known to have reached the peak of Pumori. He died on his descent in 1991 and his body has never been found.

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