KATMANDU, Nepal -- Two Australian climbers died on Mount Everest today, prompting the cancellation of an expedition led by the son of the first man to climb the world's highest peak.
Nepal's Ministry of Tourism said Craig Nottle, a 23-year-old medical student from Melbourne was killed in a fall on the mountain's West Ridge. William From, 28, a scientist of St. Lucia, Queensland, was killed about an hour later when he fell while searching for Nottle.
The two were the first climbers to die during the autumn climbing season in the Nepalese Himalayas.
Neither of the bodies could be recovered, but Nottle's was located. From, who turned 28 the day he died, had survived a fall from another Himalayan peak -- Makalu -- last year.
Peter Hillary, the 30-year-old son of Sir Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 became the first person to climb the 29,028-foot mountain, called off the expedition after the deaths of two of his five companions.
Hillary, a ski instructor and commercial pilot from Auckland, New Zealand, and his team were the first to use the treacherous West Ridge approach in the autumn and climbed unaided by oxygen or native guides.
The group spent Monday night in a snow cave they dug at 26,000 feet, then got up at 2:30 a.m. to attempt the final climb to the summit. Five hours later, Nottle died in a fall.
From searched for Nottle and was also killed in fall an hour later, the ministry said.
Hillary's expedition also included Kim Logan, 32, a New Zealander and two other Australians -- Rod Mackenzie, 22 and John Muir, 23.
It was Hillary's fourth expedition to the Nepalese Himalayas, and all four have been marred by failure and death.
On Monday, Bart Vos, 33, became the first Dutchman to conquer Everest when he reached the summit alone after a grueling 14 -hour climb from the final camp -- the longest last leg of an Everest conquest.
The Dutch expedition, which took the more commonly followed Southeast Ridge route, included Mariska Mourik, a 26-year-old film director.
Vos reached the peak alone -- without oxygen or cameras -- and left behind a microfilm of the names of the people who had helped the Dutch team.