Patagonia Honors Climber, 38, Who Died on Mount Fuji 3 Years After Near-Fatal Heart Attack

Keita Kurakami died on June 26 after he reportedly lost consciousness while attempting to summit the Japanese volcano

<p>Patagonia Climbing/Instagram</p> Keita Kurakami

Patagonia Climbing/Instagram

Keita Kurakami

Patagonia Inc., is honoring one of its climbing ambassadors who died while reportedly attempting to summit Mount Fuji in Japan this month.

Keita Kurakami, 38, died at a local hospital on June 26 after losing consciousness while scaling the volcano, according to the Associated Press and Japan Today.

Kurakami has been a member of the Patagonia Ambassador team since 2019, according to a statement shared by the clothing company on Instagram.

In 2021, Kurakami experienced “a near-fatal heart attack that doctors said would be the end of his climbing career.” But instead of giving up on his passions, the skilled climber “worked hard to return to the outdoor pursuits he loved.”

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Patagonia described Kurakami as “a true all-around climber” who “was guided by his curiosity and care for the natural world.”

“We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Keita’s family, friends and all those who care about him,” the company’s statement said.

Kurakami’s colleagues in Japan said their friend “explored the essence of climbing through his own style, and expressed the richness and imagination of climbing.”

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They added, “His passion for climbing, his single-minded inquisitiveness, and the carefree smile that emanated from that passion gave us courage and hope.”

One year after his near-fatal heart attack, Kurakami shared some wise and inspiring words with the clothing company about his journey back to the lifestyle he enjoyed outdoors.

“The happiness that is irreplaceable is not so much the ability to do difficult climbs as it is the ability to be in nature with friends, in a peaceful and free environment, and to climb in the midst of everyday life,” the late climber said at the time, per Patagonia.

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Kurakami added, “Gratitude is like a gift of flowers. I now believe that if we can continue to give such flowers of gratitude every day, even if it is only to those closest to us, the world will be a better place for all life.”

Three other bodies were found on Mount Fuji shortly before the climbing season’s official opening on July 1, according to local reports.

Among the victims is believed to be 53-year-old Eriko Takahashi, who sent his family photos taken near the summit on June 23 but was not heard from again, per The New York Times.

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