Nepal’s tourism authority has denied accusations that the sharp rise in Mount Everest deaths is due to overcrowding. The department’s director general Dandu Raj Ghimire named adverse weather conditions as a major contributing factor.
Ten climbers have been reported dead or missing in the last week.
And while reports are true that Nepal has issued a record 381 permits this season, the fact is that only one death can be directly attributed to overcrowding — the tragedy occurring during the ‘traffic jam’ on Wednesday, when 200 climbers attempted to reach the peak en masse after a window of good weather opened in what has otherwise been a year of worse-than-usual winds and snow:
According to the BBC, a 56 year-old man from Ireland is reported to have died in his tent on Friday, while another Irishman is presumed dead after falling near the summit. A 44 year-old Brit died on Saturday, just minutes after reaching the peak. While one Nepalese, four Indians, an Austrian and an American are also either dead or missing. However, again according to the BBC, just one of these deaths can be directly attributed to Wednesday’s bottlenecking — that of an Indian man, who died of exhaustion after being “stuck in traffic for more than 12 hours,” according to a local tour organiser.
Mr Ghimire offered his “heartfelt condolences to those who’ve passed away and prayers to those who are still missing”.
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Its peak is uninhabitable thanks to high winds, avalanches, cold temperatures, and atmospheric pressure. But those challenges are, in part, what lures-in hundreds of hopeful mountaineers annually, of which a handful die — more than 300 in total in fact, with at least one death occurring every year since 1977.
Death is a part of the climb.
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