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Climbers freeze to death in queue for Everest summit

May 27, 2019 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

 

Seven climbers on Mount Everest died last week as the world’s attention focused on startling images of immense queues snaking up the mountain – hundreds of climbers shuffling towards the summit and back again.

At least two of the climbers who died, an Indian woman and an American man, succumbed to exhaustion after queuing for hours in the “death zone” – an altitude where there is not enough oxygen for humans to survive.

It’s a seasonal thing; there are usually just a few days in the year when conditions are right to reach the summit. That’s when the crowds build up.

Nims Purja took an astonishing photo and posted it on Instagram, noting: “On 22nd of May, I summited everest at 5:30 am and lhotse 3:45 pm despite of the heavy traffic ( roughly 320 people ). Today I have just arrived at the Makalu base camp, I will be going for the summit push from the base camp directly. Like it, tag it and share it if you love how the project possible 14/7 is rolling 🤙🏼”

Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summits Treks, told the BBC climbers sometimes queue between 20 minutes and 1.5 hours, in order to reach the summit.

 

The days when just a handful of bold explorers reached the top of Everest are long gone. Human traffic jams form, which some observers compare to a conga line.

Some say the world’s highest mountain is becoming too busy. In 2017, members of a team sent up Everest to recover the body of a Slovak mountaineer were disconcerted to find four corpses sitting in a tent. The deceased were presumably climbers but their identities were unknown.

Periodic calls are made to restrict numbers and impose age limits. The latter issue surfaced after the death of climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, who had once set a record as the oldest climber to reach the summit before it was broken in 2013 by the Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, then aged 80.

Determined not to be outdone, Min set off at the age of 85 to reclaim his record but died in the attempt, suffering a suspected heart attack.

Sherpas report novices stumbling up the slopes without oxygen and with their ice crampons on the wrong feet.

Potentially making things worse, a renowned rocky outcrop near the peak, called the Hillary Step, was destroyed by the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

 

As the number of climbers continues to rise, people unused to high altitudes freeze to death while waiting for enough room to make the final ascent.

All of these hazards can be avoided by sitting at home and watching it on television over a cup of cocoa, but obviously there’s nothing like the real thing.

Click on this link for an image and some words from Nims Purja:  https://www.instagram.com/p/BxyzheEj2Hs/

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Brian Pine says:

    Call me weird, but I believe this is absolutely crazy. Why are so many persons risking their lives to reach the summit of Everest, when it is only about pride? So many persons have lost their lives there, yet the traffic up there is increasing? This is mind boggling to me.

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