An amateur mountaineer, who helped take the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch to the world's highest mountain, was killed earlier this week while climbing the Tianshan Mountains in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Yan Dongdong, 28, became well known in the mountaineering world after he and other climbers carried the torch to Qomolangma, known in the West as Mount Everest.
Ma Xinxiang, director of the training department of the Chinese Mountaineering Association, said on Wednesday that the deadly accident occurred at about 6 pm on Monday, when Yan and two other mountaineers tried to descend a 4,400-meter glacier.
"Yan fell into a hidden deep ice crack and got stuck inside, and his teammates tried many times to rescue him but failed," Ma wrote on his Sina micro blog. He said he received the news by phone from Yan's teammates, who were "in a very depressed mood".
Jin Yingjie of the Xinjiang Mountaineering Association said that a four-member rescue team was sent out at 5 pm on Thursday from Aksu in an attempt to assist the other two climbers.
"The two returned to base camp at the foot of the mountain," Jin said. "But the rescue team needs to trek for three to four days to get to the base camp because of the bad road."
Aksu is about 90 kilometers away from where the accident occurred.
"From what I've learned, the three mountaineers had been attempting to climb the Quelebosi Peak," Jin said. The 6,731-meter peak is near Mount Tuomur, the summit of the Tianshan Mountains.
Wang Tuo, a local mountaineer and a member of the rescue team, said he was worried about bad weather in the mountains.
"It rains a lot there, and the two survivors, Zhou Peng and Li Shuang, are said to be feeling deep sadness," Wang said.
Zhao Xingzheng, Yan's friend, said on Thursday that he was accompanying Yan's relatives to Xinjiang.
Yan, who grew up in Anshan, Northeast China's Liaoning province, graduated from the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2005.
He became an enthusiast for mountaineering activity on campus, where he was the head of the students' mountain climbing club, according to previous interviews.
Yan had translated more than three English-language books about hill-climbing theories and techniques into Chinese.
Mount Tuomur, meaning "Iron Mountain" in the local language, is known for its ancient glaciers. It was listed as a national nature reserve in 2003.
Since the 1950s, about 40 climbers from different countries have attempted to climb the peak.
In 1954, an avalanche killed 11 climbers from the former Soviet Union. In 1990, three Japanese mountaineers died on Mount Tuomur during a snowstorm, having reached 5,800 meters.