Overcrowding leaves 3 dead and 2 missing at Mount Everest

After Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became first conqueror in 1953, more than 4,000 climbers have reached the 29,035-foot-high peak.

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Everest. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

KATHMANDU, Nepal —After the death of a Dutch and an Australian climbers a couple of days before, now an Indian has died while being helped down the Everest and two other Indian climbers went missing. The experts say some of the tragedy might have been avoided.

Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said on Monday that overcrowding on top might have caused delay for people at highest reaches while waiting for the path to clear down. Poor planning is also one of the reason behind the delay.

“This was a man-made disaster that may have been minimized with better management of the teams,” he said. “The last two disasters on Everest were caused by nature.

Mount Everest,1975 climbing route on Southwest Face. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Mount Everest,1975 climbing route on Southwest Face. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

After deadly disasters in the previous years, many climbers hoped that this year’s climbing season will be a success and restore confidence in the route. But as many turned up to take advantage of good weather and make it to the top , reports of disaster began trickling down the mountain

Eric Arnold, a 35-year-old Dutch man died on his way down from the top by altitude sickness. Many hours later, Maria Strydom a 34-year-old Australian woman died near the peak, suffering from the same altitude sickness

On last Monday, an Indian climber Subhash Paul was reported as the 3rd death succumbing to altitude sickness overnight as he was being helped down the mountain by Sherpa guides, said Wangchu Sherpa of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency in Kathmandu.

Sunitra Hazra an Indian woman from Paul’s team was found resting at a lower altitude camp after becoming ill higher up. Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh, other two Indian climber have been missing since Saturday. It is unlikely that they would have survived Everest’s hostile conditions said Wangchu Sherpa.

Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition team members. Taken in 1921. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition team members. Taken in 1921. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Many other climber have gotten frostbite or become sick near the summit in recent days, including Robert Gropal husband of Australian women and was taken to hospital in Kathmandu by helicopter on Monday for treatment.

The competition between expedition organizers has caused dropping in their prices, which has led to poor equipment , less oxygen tanks and experienced guides to help climbers reach the top said Tshering.

“Teams are hiring raw guides that have no knowledge of responding to situations of emergency,” he said.

After Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became first conqueror in 1953, more than 4,000 climbers have reached the 29,035-foot-high peak.

This year nearly 400 climbers reached the summit on May 11 and Nepal government had issued permit to only 289 climber. Each climber who paid $11,000 to the government, plus another $25,000-$50,000 to an expedition company that provides guides, equipment and, often, bottled oxygen to use at high altitudes where the atmosphere is thin and these climbers accompanied by 400 Sherpa guides from Nepal.

Nepal and the Everest climbing community had been anxious for a successful season this year. The industry brings more than $3 million from permit fees alone into the poor, Himalayan country each year, and thousands of locals depend on the climbing season for secondary work as porters, hotel keepers or cooks.

People of Everest climbing community and people depending on climbing season were anxious for a successful season this year.The industry brings more than $3 million from permit fees alone into the poor, Himalayan country each year

2015’s devastating earthquake created an avalanche that killed around 19 people at Base Camp, ending all the climbing activities for that year and one year before icefall on glacier which is the route to the top killed 16 and made impossible for other to climb that season.

But while hundreds have died trying to reach the top of Everest due to avalanches, altitude sickness, exposure and other dangers, the use of bottled oxygen and better equipment had helped reduce the number of deaths each year. Satellite communication equipment and better medical facilities have also helped prevent tragedy.

Many have died trying to conquer the top of Everest because of avalanche. Altitude sickness, exposure and other dangers, but use of oxygen and better equipment’s has helped in reducing the number of deaths over the years.

Better satellite communication equipment and medical facilities have helped in preventing tragedies. Still, some people criticize expedition companies for taking new climber to Everest without any mountaineering experience.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication from Amity school of communication, Noida. Contact the author at Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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