Everest Overcrowding Causes Deaths
4 people died of altitude sickness and exhaustion on May 19th, on one of the Peaks most deadliest days. German national Eberhard Schaaf, 61, South Korean Song Won-Bin, 44, 33-year-old Nepali-born Canadian Shriya Shah and Chinese climber Ha Wenyi, 55, were all found dead near the summit.
According to Zimba Zangbu Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, people were starting to take unnecessary risks in trying to reach the top, vying for “this or that record.” With some spending tens of thousands on an expedition, loathe to turn back when advised.
With overcrowding at an all-time high there is a bottleneck every season at the Hillary Step, a rock face near the peak that climbers from the Nepal side have to ascend and descend with the help of ropes. Here there is only a single rope causing traffic jams, delaying ascents for hours, with people stood around for up to 3 hours at risk of having their hands and feet frostbitten.
Up to 200 were again expected to scale the 8,848 m summit again this weekend within the next ‘safe window.’
This season is running weeks late, with the first clear window for climbing being Friday 18th May, the climbing season being late March to the first week in June for reaching the summit.
Since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first scaled it in 1953, nearly 4,000 people have climbed Everest.
Route Map of Everest
Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary reached the 29,035-foot summit of Everest on May 29, 1953.
The Hillary Step at 28,750 feet is just above the South Summit