Freezing to Death Over a Cryptocurrency Stunt: Sherpa Dies On Everest Guiding Others

A Ukrainian social media stunt to raise money for an ICO turned deadly and resulted in the death of an expert climber on Mount Everest.

The exact date of the death of the individual, a sherpa, has yet to disclosed. About 300 people have died over the years climbing the tallest mountain on earth. Frozen corpses from decades ago litter the icy trails.

ASKfm planned a social media stunt involving a treasure hunt on Mount Everest.

A cryptocurrency cold wallet containing $50,000 in digital tokens was hidden somewhere on the mountain.

A “cold wallet” is a hard drive, thumb drive or digital data storage device that contains code to access digital currency.

In mid-May 2018, ASKfm sponsored four Ukrainian individuals and tasked them with climbing Everest to hide the wallet.

The company is in the initial planning process of launching its own initial coin offering or ICO.

A promotional video for the cold wallet stunt was posted online on May 17. In the video, “crypto enthusiasts” are encouraged to climb Mount Everest and search for the hidden cold wallet, “if [they’re] brave enough.”

The four Ukrainian climbers made it back safely after the stunt.

A Nepalese climbing guide, Lamb Babu Sherpa, lost his life during the trip while guiding the four individuals. Babu was an expert climber and guide who summited Everest several times in the past.

A spokesperson from Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism said that Babu had been struck by “snow blindness” but offered no more details.

Taras Pozdnii, one of the Ukrainian climbers, told news agencies about the event.

Pozdnii said that they “lost track of the sherpa after he accompanied them to the summit, and that he didn’t know how the man died.”


ASKfm CEO Max Tsaryk gave cryptic answers that acknowledge something went wrong during the climb.

“The last official update we received was that the condition and location of the missing Sherpa was unknown and it was not our place to make public statements which could’ve resulted in false information being circulated,” said Tsaryk.

Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki  lost nine fingers to frostbite in seven previous attempts to climb Mount Everest.

Kuriki died on Everest on May 21, 2018 on his eight summit attempt. Babu disappearance and death were reported on the same day of Kuriki’s death.

Alan Arnette, a blogger of Mount Everest expeditions, wrote about Babu’s death in a post called “Preventable Deaths.”

Arnette reports that fellow Sherpas brought Babu to a base camp where he later died.

“I find it hard to understand how the 45 year-old Sherpa developed snow blindness, was reported to be staggering and no one was able to help him,” wrote Arnette.

The value of the cold wallet hidden on Mount Everest has not been independently verified. ASKfm has not proven the estimated worth of the hidden cold wallet.

The company said that its value is based on “pre-sale and ICO launch.”