Prize for stupidity commemorates “those who improve our gene pool — by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible”.

On 28 October last year, a Japanese man slipped and fell to his death while live-streaming his hike to the top of Mt Fuji outside of the official climbing season.

The video, which streamed on Japanese video-streaming website Niconico, showed 47-year-old Tetsu Shiohara, known as “Tedzu” online, just metres from the summit, saying “This part is dangerous” literally two seconds before he lost his footing.

The final part of Tedzu’s “Let’s Go to Snowy Mt Fuji” livestream has since been uploaded to YouTube.

Climbing Mt. Fuji is only permitted during summer, when the snow has melted and the trails and huts are open. Hiking outside of this time is prohibited in principle, as it is extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening without taking proper precautions.

Though Tedzu’s previous videos showed he had climbed Mt Fuji several times last year, his inexperience with treacherous conditions outside of the climbing season and his desire to prioritise filming over personal safety recently attracted the attention of the Darwin Awards, who awarded him for his “Pinnacle Of Stupidity”.

The tongue-in-cheek accolade was announced on the Darwin Awards website, which is dedicated to recognising individuals who meet their demise in “an extraordinarily idiotic manner”. The website states:

“In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.”

Tedzu is said to be the first Japanese person to receive a Darwin Award, with the honour being given to him for his lack of “proper gear, climbing experience, and a booster pack of common sense”.

During his livestream, Tedzu could be heard complaining about his cold fingers, suggesting his gloves weren’t adequate for the conditions, and he appeared to be walking near the rocky, snowy peak without crampons, relying solely on two hiking poles for stability.

He also mentioned that he was filming with his smartphone, despite his fingers hurting from the cold, a fact which didn’t escape the attention of the Darwin Awards, who said:

“Continuing social media commentary as he juggles climbing poles and smart phone in his frostbitten mitts, Tedzu demonstrates a classic case of misplaced priorities when he states that despite numb extremities, he ‘MUST continue to operate’ his livestream.”

Many climbers underestimate the difficulty in climbing Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain with a summit of 3,776 metres (12,388 feet), even without the added stress of streaming the event to a live audience on their smartphone.

While Tedzu tragically lost his life filming his ascent, hopefully his mention in the Darwin Awards will act as a serious reminder to others to never underestimate the dangers of Mt Fuji. Especially now that the hiking trails are closed for the summer climbing season this year.

Sources: Darwin Awards via Hachima Kikou 
Top image: Pakutaso
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